AFRICANGLOBE – Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma have met in a move to strengthen relations between Africa’s two economic giants.
“Your Excellency, My Dear Brother” is how President Jacob Zuma greeted Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Cape Town on Tuesday. The warm, cordial relationship between the two leaders is an indication of how serious Zuma takes the relationship with Nigeria.
“As we head towards celebrating 20 years of freedom next year, we remain highly appreciative of the solidarity that the South African liberation struggle and our people enjoyed from successive governments and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Zuma said his country has a “duty to take these historical relations further”.
Jonathan is on his first official State visit to South Africa since he took office in 2011.
The relationship between South Africa and Nigeria has not been easy. Both countries are vying for the top spot in Africa, especially on the economic and political stage.
Jonathan’s visit comes on the heels of Zuma’s visit to Nigeria a month ago.
“I am happy that we have prioritised economic cooperation during this visit and certain that the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum will further boost economic ties between our two countries”.
Zuma said that there are over 100 South African companies doing business in Nigeria, with the biggest investment being in the telecommunications sector.
“South Africa and Nigeria are critical countries,” said Jonathan “If the continent of Africa must forward, then the world will expect maximum cooperation between South Africa and Nigeria and we’re just doing that.”
Zuma also welcomed the upward trend of Nigerian tourists to South Africa.
“Last year South Africa received a total of 73 282 Nigerian tourists, which is a 13.8 percent increase to the 64 402 Nigerian tourists who visited South Africa in 2011”.
Tourists from Africa’s most populous country contributed a total of R720 million to the South African economy last year. And in a move to boost tourism further, South Africa is in the process of opening a tourism office in Lagos.
Trade between the two countries, according to official sources, has reached $4.1 $bn.
Zuma said the two countries also shared a “common vision” on the need for the reform of the multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF and the World Bank “to reflect the realities of the changed and changing international environment”.
Zuma added that they also shared a common vision on the need for a sustainable conflict resolution mechanism in Africa that is primarily driven by Africans.
The country is also hosting the World Economic Forum Africa this week and Jonathan will be attending the event.
Statistics indicate that over the past 10 years, the world’s ten fastest growing economies were in Africa.
Zuma said, “Africa has a positive story to tell”.
By: Crystal van Vyk