The visit was of strategic importance to both countries and would help bolster multilateralism over unilateralism, a political analyst said.
The three-day visit by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, in the aftermath of the xenophobic violence which strained relations between the two countries, would go a long way in reinforcing African solidarity, experts said yesterday.
Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa have used the visit to cement trade and people-to-people relations between Africa’s two biggest economies, with both leaders calling on their citizens to end animosity towards one another.
“The visit comes at an important time when relations between the two countries were strained because of the xenophobic violence, which led to reprisals in Nigeria where South African-owned companies like MTN and MultiChoice came under attack,” said the SA Institute of International Affairs’s head of African governance and diplomacy, Steven Gruzd.
Gruzd said the 65% South African trade with West Africa had a potential to grow, should relations be strengthened.
“Trade could be higher because South Africa and Nigeria are important trading partners.
“President Buhari has brought to South Africa a huge business delegation from Nigeria and hopefully new deals will be sealed.
“Under former president Thabo Mbeki, South Africa enjoyed good ties with Nigeria, which was then led by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
“But under Jacob Zuma’s reign, his focus was more on Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] than with Nigeria,” said Gruzd.
In his remarks during the South Africa-Nigeria business forum, Ramaphosa underscored the importance of trade between the two countries.
“We must meet more, trade more, invest more, work together more,” he said.
“To achieve this, Africa must overcome the old patterns of unbalanced and unequal growth, and embrace a model of inclusive, sustainable growth.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area will realise the ambitions of the Abuja Treaty, and create a unified African economy with a combined GDP of more than $2 trillion.”
Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the visit was of strategic importance to both countries and would help bolster multilateralism over unilateralism.
Said Mathekga: “If bilateral relations are stronger between the two countries, then that augurs well for the region.
“Strong bilateral relations will have a good effect on continental forums like the African Union, which will neutralise unilateralism espoused by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who pulled out of World Economic Forum on Africa, recently hosted by South Africa – in response to xenophobic violence.
“Good working relations between South Africa and Nigeria, will help mobilise for a bigger bloc at regional level in deepening multilateralism.
“This is likely to undermine Rwanda’s efforts towards unilateralism and may get Rwanda back to the fold.”
He said the xenophobic violence had a negative impact on South African companies based in Nigeria.
“I think the swift action taken by President Ramaphosa, yielded good results in mending relations.”
In other news – Proverb isn’t here for a tweep pitting him against Bonang
Don’t get it twisted, Proverb is not here for arguments about whether he is better at presenting than Bonang Matheba. The Idols SA host is one of the best presenters in Mzansi and is often compared to those abroad.
But when one fan rolled on to the Twitter TLs to try to “settle” the argument about who was the best host in SA, Proverb shut them down real quick. He saw the post and responded with a courteous: “There’s no competition of any kind here. Queen B all day, every day! Bonang.” continue reading