On Saturday, 1 July 2023, Brand South Africa, in partnership with the South African Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria and South African Tourism, hosted South Africans living in Nigeria and friends of South Africa to encourage cross-cultural exchange, and to call on South Africans in Nigeria to be advocates for the country ,and to live as exemplary citizens in their new host country.
Bobby Moroe, the Consul-General of South Africa in Lagos, Nigeria and a Professor of Practice- Afrocentric Governance of Public Affairs (NWU) at a media parley held recently in Lagos said: “This activity is meant to celebrate the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria. We have had 29 years of unbroken bilateral relations since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations on February 21, 1994.”
Also speaking at the event Ms Nomasonto Ndlovu, Chief Executive Officer (Acting) at South African Tourism said “From a tourism perspective, Nigeria remains an important source market for South Africa. Partnerships, intentional collaborations, and continued dialogues are important for the growth of both countries’ tourism sectors.”
“In the month of April 2023, South Africa welcomed 3.6% more visitors from Nigeria when compared to April 2022, she continued” “This collaboration certainly contributes to advancing efforts to enhance relations between South Africa and Nigeria thus allowing the two countries to collectively address issues that hinder growth for both countries.”
Attendees had an opportunity to engage with one another to create a community that is mutually beneficial.
“I have been in Nigeria since 2006, so I have basically adopted Nigeria as my second country. I’ve lived in many countries. I love Nigeria,” said Cindy Coolsaet, Public Relations Strategist, Coolsaet Media, a South African based in Nigeria. “Nigerians are dynamic, warm and make good use of opportunities always. Cindy is from Knysna, South Africa. I used to say Knysna is my husband and Lagos is my pulse, it keeps me alive because Lagos does not sleep”.
Ziyanda Mpakama, Associate Vice President at AFC based in Pretoria, South Africa and now lives in Lagos said “I’ve been to Nigeria before, visited Abuja and Enugu but I’ve never been to Lagos before. When the opportunity to relocate to Lagos came, it was not a shock to my system. For me, relocating out of South Africa to another African country, Nigeria, was no-brainer. And from my experience here, there’s really no big difference between South Africa and Nigeria but a different culture.
Oluwaseyi Adegoke-Adeyemo, publisher, Inside Watch Africa, who shuttles between Nigeria and South Africa for over 16 years said “The South African brand is an African brand. Now, you cannot want to scratch your body and at the end of the day, you hurt yourself. So whatever we do with South Africa, and any African country, we must make sure that it is about preserving the brand.”
“It is about ensuring that the brand stands because you see their fall indirectly is our fall. Particularly, South Africa, as a country has done well as regards their infrastructural development and I think Nigerians and every African should be proud of,” he said.
This engagement preceded a business roundtable and dialogue which took place on Tuesday, 4 July 2023.
Themed “Promoting Regional and Continental Trade Through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and BRICS in Africa.” The objective was to facilitate discussions on the AfCFTA, which became operational in May 2019, and to shed light on the importance of South Africa’s participation in the BRICS alliance.
During the event, participants engaged in dialogue, shared insights, and explored opportunities for trade collaboration. The focus was on leveraging the potential of the AfCFTA and the strategic advantages of South Africa’s membership in the BRICS alliance to foster economic growth and cooperation in Africa.
The roundtable also provided a platform for engagement between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s private sector, civil society, and government to deliberate on key issues of mutual interest and concern as well exploring solutions aimed at creating economic opportunities for both countries.
Nigeria is not only a strategic partner in the continent for South Africa, but the Federal Republic has also emerged as a priority country for South Africa as it represents over two-thirds market share for South African exports and investments in the West-Africa subregion.
Since 1994 Nigeria and South Africa’s bilateral relations have grown significantly, to the extent that Nigeria is South Africa’s 7th largest African export market and Nigeria is one of South Africa’s primary crude oil suppliers.
In creating awareness of the AfCFTA, and encouraging intercontinental trade amongst African countries, the dialogue will focus on the importance of African countries’ contribution at the upcoming BRICS Business Forum and Summit taking place in Johannesburg from 22 to 24 August 2023.
The panellists for the business roundtable included: Greg Munyai, Economic Counselor, High Commission of the Republic of South Africa in Nigeria; Busi Mabuza – Chairperson of the South African Chamber of the BRICS Business Council; Nomasonto Ndlovu – Chief Executive Officer (Acting) at South African Tourism; Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers (NSACC), and Olufemi Saibu – Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Lagos.