Uniting for Africa’s Development

Zuma and Jonathan, partners in progress
Zuma and Jonathan, partners in progress

Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Jacob Zuma agree that Nigeria and South Africa must cooperate in order to play pivotal roles in Africa’s development

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  May 20, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

AS the biggest economies in the continent, Nigeria and South Africa play pivotal roles in the development of Africa. Although there have been some cracks in their diplomatic relationship lately following the deportation of some Nigerians living in South Africa last year, both countries are now prepared to sheathe their swords for the good of the continent.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, pledged to work together by signing nine pacts covering among other areas, oil and gas, power, communication and defence.

In what was regarded as the first state visit by a Nigerian leader to South Africa since 2009, Jonathan said Nigeria and South Africa are important to the development of Africa. He added that the leaders of both countries would be considered failures should they fail to work together. “If the continent of Africa must move forward, then the world will expect maximum cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa and we are doing just that. Nigeria and South Africa must work together to help Africa because whether we like it or not, if we refuse to cooperate, we will be considered as failures”.

Zuma and Jonathan, talking to make  a difference
Zuma and Jonathan, talking to make a difference

On his part, Zuma, who described Jonathan’s visit as historic, said the outcome of their discussions marked a higher level of cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa. “We are very pleased with the outcomes of our discussions; they do mark a higher level of cooperation between the two countries.

The South African president assured that all the agreements reached during the talks would be effectively implemented by ministers and government agencies in both countries. “We have today witnessed the signing of new Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. Our Ministers will ensure the effective implementation of these instruments and the conclusion of outstanding ones. I am certain that the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum that is meeting today here in Cape Town will further boost economic relations between our two countries.”

With more than 100 South African companies doing business in Nigeria, Zuma hinted that his country “aims to invest in engineering, banking, media, tourism and other sectors in Nigeria. To date, over 100 South African companies are doing business in Nigeria, with the biggest investment being in the telecommunications sector. We welcome the participation of South African business in other sectors in Nigeria as well, such as engineering, construction, media, banking, retail, hospitality, oil and gas exploration and services”.

While welcoming Nigerian investors willing to invest in any sector in South Africa, Zuma noted that the tourism sectors must not be ignored in order to strengthen and promote people to people linkages in both countries. “It is important to promote people to people linkages, especially through tourism. Our records indicate that Nigerian tourists contributed a total of R720 million to the South African economy last year. To boost tourism links further, South Africa is in the process of opening a tourism office in Lagos.

On political issues, Zuma said Nigeria and South Africa share a vision to promote political and economic integration in the continent. He added that there is a need to develop a sustainable conflict resolution mechanism in Africa that is primarily driven by Africans.

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