SA, Nigeria elevate bilateral and trade relations


Two of Africa’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, are today expected to strengthen their longstanding bilateral ties and trade relations during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s two-day state visit in Nigeria.

Upon President Cyril Ramaphosa’s arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Tuesday, the two Heads of State met for a private dinner to kick start the state visit.

President Ramaphosa and President Muhammadu Buhari are expected to sign a number of Memoranda of Understanding and agreements across political, diplomatic and economic and trade relations.

The visit to Nigeria coincides with the 10th Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Bi-National Commission.

“The BNC will provide an opportunity for South Africa and Nigeria to deepen relations across the spectrum of South Africa’s national priorities, including political cooperation and the strengthening of economic development cooperation,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The Presidency said that the 10th BNC is expected to review and follow up on decisions taken by the 9th Session of the Commission which, among others, included the establishment of an Early Warning Mechanism, the re-establishment of the South Africa-Nigeria Consular Forum, an agreement on Diplomatic Consultations, and the reaffirmation of the historical and political relations between the two countries.

“South Africa and Nigeria are also committed to regular consultations on bilateral issues, and continental and global issues of mutual concern. During this BNC a number of Memoranda of Understanding/Agreement will be signed,” the Presidency said.

South Africa and Nigeria have strong historical ties dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid and colonialism.

In March 2016, the BNC was elevated from the Deputy/Vice President level to be presided over by the Heads of State, which signifies the strategic importance attached to the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

President Ramaphosa is accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise; Minister of Police Bheki Cele; Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, and Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.

The delegation also includes Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, and Deputy Minister of State Security, Zizi Kodwa.

Upon conclusion of the state visit in Nigeria, President Ramaphosa and his delegation will proceed to the Côte d’Ivoire, where he will be hosted on a state visit at the invitation of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara.