AFRICANGLOBE – South African President Jacob Zuma emerged from his Tuesday meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan boasting a sheaf of commitments to closer ties and improved relations with Africa’s second largest economy.
In his second official visit to Nigeria in less than three years, Zuma undertook to rebuild relations with Nigeria, something he said was not only crucial for South Africa but for the continent.
President Zuma told reporters that South Africa and Nigeria will use their influence to solve some of the security issues that are currently facing the continent.
“There are few matters we thought we needed to consult with regarding the situation in the continent of Africa and we have had a very fruitful consultation,” Zuma said.
“We believe that between Nigeria and South Africa it’s important to align and harmonise our thinking on matters that need countries in the continent to take specific decisions.”
The Nigerian trip was part of Zuma’s African tour to bolster ties with some of the continent’s countries considered to be strategic for South Africa.
On Monday, Zuma also visited Algiers in Algeria to discuss cooperation between the two countries.
He said the core of the engagements involved some of the issues of stability on the continent.
“We raised the issue of security of the continent as you know that there have been difficulties in a lot of countries and we touched upon those issues and we will certainly take those discussions further.”
Zuma noted that the African continent will soon be celebrating 50 years of the creation of the African Union (AU) after it was revamped from the Organisation of the African Union (OAU).
“The issue really we need to say is what is it that we can look at and look forward to take the organization and the continent forward…so we had fruitful discussions in that score.”
President Jonathan is scheduled to come to South Africa in the near future for a state visit.
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry puts trade between Nigeria and South Africa to billions of rands. It said in the period between 1999 and 2008 total trade between Nigeria and South Africa grew from R174-million to R22.8-billion.
South African exports to Nigeria increased from R505-million to R7.1-billion, while Nigerian exports to South Africa rose to R15.7-billion from R123.6-million in the same period.