President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Nigeria for a working visit which will take place on Wednesday, the Presidency said in a late night statement.
Ramaphosa, who will meet with his counterpart, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, has also accepted an invitation to participate in the 2018 Annual Meeting and 25th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
As the continent’s two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria enjoy good political, economic and social relations formally established in 1994, immediately after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
“While in Nigeria, it is expected that the two presidents will discuss a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common concern. Peace, stability and continental integration will feature prominently in their discussions,” said Khusela Diko, spokesperson to Ramaphosa.
Formal relations between South Africa and Nigeria have been conducted through the Bi-National Commission (BNC), established in 1999 as a structured bilateral mechanism to promote political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.
The BNC has over the years deepened and solidified the relations between the two countries, and laid the foundation for increased bilateral political and economic cooperation.
Bilateral cooperation has been enhanced over the years to the extent that there are thirty-four (34) signed bilateral agreements between the two countries which cover various areas such as arts and culture, education, agriculture, trade and investment, mining, defence, policing, immigration, taxation, science and technology, health, tourism, environment, and energy amongst others.
South Africa and Nigeria also enjoy strong economic cooperation demonstrated by the increasing trade and investment flows between the two sister Republics.
For example, South Africa exported goods valued at R6.4 billion in 2016 while Nigerian exports to South Africa amounted to R30.4 billion. In 2017, South African exports were valued at R5.7 billion against R22.8 billion imports from Nigeria.
Nigeria enjoys a huge trade deficit due to the increasing South African importation of petroleum products.
There are over 120 South African companies currently doing business in Nigeria in various sectors, mainly in telecommunications, banking, retail, hospitality, mining, tourism, agriculture and construction.
Some of the South African companies that have invested in Nigeria include MTN, Multichoice, Stanbic Bank, Shoprite Checkers, South African Airways, Sasol and Bon Hotels, to mention a few.
President Ramaphosa is accompanied by the Ministers of Defence & Military Veterans; Energy, Police and Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry.