SA and Nigeria stand firm against violence


South Africa and Nigeria have reiterated condemnation of recent violent attacks in South Africa against foreign nationals.

The nations cemented their stance at the first incoming State visit hosted by South Africa under the sixth administration.

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, for a State visit on Thursday.

Buhari was accompanied by a high level delegation of ministers and senior government officials.

Both presidents condemned reprisal attacks on South African businesses in Nigeria.

“South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and in this context advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa. As Africans, we have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity,” said Ramaphosa.

Buhari emphasised the need for the rule of law to prevail and for security and police intelligence to be on high alert in anticipation of potential attacks.

“I think Nigerians know that when in Rome, you do as the Romans do. When you are in a country, you stay with the people and follow the laws of that country. If you do anything outside that the people are not going to accept it,” Buhari said.

Ramaphosa used the opportunity to dispel the notion that violence affecting foreign nationals targeted Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and South Africans were affected.

To prevent future similar occurrences, the presidents endorsed establishment of an early warning mechanism as a preventative and monitoring platform.

Strengthening economic co-operation

During the visit, the presidents noted their countries’ bilateral co-operation, which covers trade and investment, energy, mining, defence and security, justice, police, immigration, tourism, environment, education, transport as well as science and technology.

In this regard, they signed 32 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding and committed to ensuring those in force are fully implemented.

Noting the importance of economic co-operation, Buhari and Ramaphosa welcomed the Business Forum on the margins of the State visit.

The leaders further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment. The inaugural meeting of the council will be held no later than April 2020 in Abuja.

The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.

Both leaders took note of the footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast food industries.

They also noted and welcomed business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment by Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.

Regional co-operation

On continental matters, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development in the context of the AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Freed Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

On the international front, Ramaphosa congratulated Nigeria as current chair of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

In similar vein, Buhari congratulated South Africa as president of the United Nations Security Council for October 2019 and as upcoming chair of the African Union for 2020.