• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

President Jonathan’s trip to South Africa

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 It is commendable that the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa is cordial again after President Jacob Zuma’s official visit to Nigeria in April. President Goodluck Jonathan is also paying a reciprocal visit to South Africa today in a bid to strengthen the trade and bilateral relations between the two countries.

This development is welcome as the two countries have been the focus for foreign investments in Africa. They, therefore, can no longer afford to let the power play and rivalry between them continue. They are supposed to come together to serve as leading examples to other African countries in terms of development. They must be at the forefront of fostering intra-Africa relationship on the continent.

We hope President Jonathan’s visit will open up new vistas of opportunities for development between Nigeria and South Africa. A report by Chatam House shows that bilateral trade between the two countries has increased in the past few years with Nigeria becoming South Africa’s largest trading partner in Africa, a relationship now worth $3.6 billion a year. This kind of trade relationship cannot be trivialised.

There are many areas we believe the two countries can collaborate. First, there are opportunities for them to work together in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry that has limitless opportunities. Through partnership in the energy sector, the two African giants stand to gain a lot for the benefit of their people. They can partner to harness and develop the natural gas endowment of the nation from upstream to the downstream in order to move the continent forward.

Tourism is another aspect of the economy through which the two countries can work together. Nigeria and South Africa should harness the tourism potentials in their respective countries to drive traffic from and to Nigeria and South Africa. They must see how they can market their countries as destination of choice to their inhabitants. In addition, they must seek to promote their cultures through cultural tourism. There has been an exchange already in this regard with the staging of South African famous musical ‘Umoja’. We hope the play ‘Kakadu’, a musical on post-independence Nigeria, although a private initiative in Nigeria, will also be staged in a South African theatre in the nearest future.

Also, opportunity abounds in the promotion of fashion in the two countries. There have been collaborations between Nigerian and South African fashion designers, but we hope this will be done on a larger scale than what is currently obtainable in the fashion industries of the two countries. 

And so, it is important that Nigeria and South Africa lay a strong platform for African countries to continue to collaborate with one another so as to develop the entire region for the benefit of their citizens and the continent.

The Asian Tigers and the Middle East are examples – for Africa – of internal co-operation for economic development; they all looked inwards first and today they are where they are.

The future of the black race can no longer be toyed with. As the two giants on the continent, Nigeria and South Africa must encourage other African countries to take their destinies in their hands in order to realise the continent’s full potentials. It is high time African countries co-operated with one another in order to strengthen their various economies.