South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the rising tension between the two countries days after the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened to shut down MultiChoice, Shoprite, MTN businesses and replicate xenophobic attack on South African citizens in Nigeria.
The Presidency revealed that President Buhari has been invited to South Africa by Ramaphosa to discuss the living condition of Nigerians based in the country. According to the statement released on its Twitter handle – @NGRPresident, the meeting slated for October would also include trade issues.
The relationship between Nigeria and South Africa experienced a nosedive recently with a 7-day ultimatum issued to South African businesses to stop operation in Nigeria, following attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa.
The two countries, which have the largest economies in Africa, are both expected to play a vital role in the recently signed free trade agreement between more than 50 countries. Also, while Nigeria is dependent on importation, South Africa is Nigeria’s preferred option for the importation of goods, with the country accounting for 34.7% of Nigeria’s import from African countries in 2017.
This makes the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa crucial to both African leaders. And in order to strengthen their weakening relationship, President Buhari and President Ramaphosa will focus on fostering “strategic partnership and cooperation on matters of peace, security & socio-economic development in our continent,” the statement disclosed.
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT BUHARI, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA AGREE TO MEET ON CONSULAR, TRADE ISSUES #Thread
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) August 10, 2019
Other talking points of the telephone conversation between the two presidents include:
- discussions on issues relating to the well-being of citizens and ways to further strengthen trade relations between the two largest African economies;
- the need to promote trade and investment;
- opportunity to inaugurate a Bi-national commission for both countries to effect the strategic decisions taken in 2016 to elevate it to the level of Heads of State; and
- mutual interest and concern in global governance.
Is the meeting too late? While the meeting is slated for October, NANS is already taking action. The students’ body gave an ultimatum of seven days for the multinational businesses owned by South Africans to close business. The group carried out a part of their threat by shutting down Shoprite’s store in Ogun State four days after and has promised to carry on with the action in other areas.
Why the two governments scheduled the meeting two months from now remains unknown despite NANS already threatening to picket and shut down South African businesses.
NANS wants an urgent solution but President Buhari and President Ramaphosa prefer October. With the closure of Shoprite’s outlets in some Nigerian cities, there’s a possibility both African leaders will reconsider the timeframe of their meeting.
Consequences of NANS’ action: If the South African companies decide to exit Nigeria, Nigerians will be affected negatively. In a period when unemployment is on the rise, companies are to be encouraged to remain operational. Thousands of jobs will be lost, some of the sectors of the economy will be affected because Nigeria is not prepared for such an outcome.
Impact on SA businesses: While the closure of South African businesses in Nigeria will affect their revenue as expected, it will also take a large chunk of their returns as Nigeria is their major market, especially for companies like Pioneer Foods Group, Shoprite, Stanbic IBTC and MultiChoice, a Nairametrics research showed. Nevertheless, the exit will leave a lasting effect on both Nigerian and South African businesses.
Nigeria needs urgent economic diversification – AfDB
The AfDB said that the diversification of the Nigerian economy had become important for it to respond favourably to the emerging challenges of the 21st century.
The African Development Bank has stated that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, needs urgent economic diversification to move the country from a single income source (oil and minerals) towards multiple income sources.
This was disclosed by Prof. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka Oyebanji, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation at African Development Bank (AfDB), at the 22nd Founder’s Day Lecture of the Igbinedion University, the first private university in Edo state, on Monday.
What the AfDB said about diversification
“In pursuit of long-term recovery and sustainable development, Nigeria needs urgent economic diversification. Nothing is more poignantly demonstrative of the danger of over-reliance on a single or narrow range of commodities than the recent crash in oil price we saw in 2020 due to the COVID-19.
Economic diversification entails a shift away from a single income source (oil and minerals) toward multiple income sources from an increasing spectrum of sectors, products and markets,” he said.
In case you missed it
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated earlier this year that economic diversification was important to Nigeria and critical for her economic recovery.
They said the limited gains from inward-oriented policies in terms of creating jobs and improving living standards suggested that Nigeria needed to have a change of strategy. It was pointed out that in order to accommodate a growing number of young people entering the labour market, Nigeria would need to create at least 5 million new jobs each year over the next decade.
Ghana-Nigerian traders dispute: FG to send delegation to Ghana
The delegation will be led by the Minister of Trade, Niyi Adebayo, and comprised of other private stakeholders.
The Nigerian Government will send a delegation led by the Minister of Trade, Niyi Adebayo, to Ghana to end the crisis between Nigerian traders in Ghana and local authorities—an issue that started last year before the Ghanaian Presidential elections.
The delegation was ordered by the Presidency as disclosed in a statement by the trade ministry on Monday evening.
The statement revealed that the delegation would be comprised of private stakeholders also who would be sent to dialogue with Ghanaian trade authorities to find a solution to the crisis.
The meeting between both parties will be held between May 31 and June 1, 2021.
What you should know
Recall Nairametrics reported last year that Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said that Nigeria’s border closure in 2019 hurt Ghanaians and nearly bankrupted many Ghanaian export businesses after their goods were stuck at the Seme Border for months, reacting to the shutdown of Nigerian-owned shops by Ghanaian authorities last year.
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