These are five important issues Jacob Zuma pointed out to Nigerians

South Africa’s president, Mr. Jacob Zuma, along with his delegation, arrived Nigeria yesterday attempting to improve diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to many experts. This is especially because in recent years, Nigeria and South Africa have not exactly been on friendly terms due to certain constraints. Issues like Xenophobia, funds seizures and one of the major causes of spat between the countries; the fine imposed by Nigeria’s NCC on South African telecommunications company, MTN, have contributed to these constraints.

However Zuma’s visit is more likely to improve economic relations between the two countries. Here are 5 important things Jacob Zuma said in his speech to the National Assembly of Nigeria with the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in attendance.

The importance of bi-lateral relations

“National legislatures have come to play a pivotal role in the enhancement of bilateral relations between countries, evolving from their traditional roles of oversight of the executive and passage of legislation. We are convinced that relations between the National Assembly of Nigeria and the Parliament of South Africa will grow into a cooperation that will enhance people-to-people exchanges. We are also very pleased to stand here this afternoon in a building that symbolises democracy in Nigeria.”

Freedom from apartheid and terrorism in Nigeria

“It is thus clear that ours are time-tested relations. Engagements between our countries far predate the formal relations established after South Africa attained its freedom. The people of Nigeria provided unwavering support and solidarity to the people of South Africa, to unseat the last bastion of colonialism in Africa and enable us to attain our freedom.

I would like to remind, especially the youth in our two countries, of the role that Nigeria played in the struggle for liberation in South Africa. Nigeria was very instrumental in establishing, in the 1960s and the chairing, for 25 years, the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, and further hosted a UN anti-apartheid conference in 1977.

It is within this context that our hearts and prayers are always with the Chibok girls who were abducted from their dormitories in April 2014 by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, here in Nigeria. We remain hopeful and trust that your efforts to find and rescue those children will bear positive results.”

The significant improvement in relations between both parties in the last 16 years and how to make it better

“We are happy that the bilateral economic relations between the two countries have significantly improved in the last 16 years as evidenced by the growing bilateral trade figures and investments. More than one hundred and twenty South African companies operate in Nigeria currently, a huge growth from a mere four companies in 1999.

Nonetheless, there is room for greater business-to-business engagements particularly in the areas Nigeria has identified as potential growth sectors. These include the diversification of the economy, namely electricity generation and supply, agriculture and agro-processing, tourism development including the hospitality sector, mining, banking, infrastructure development, aviation, manufacturing and the automotive sector.”

Economic and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and South Africa

“Economic cooperation between our two countries can therefore serve as the bedrock of the continent’s economic cooperation and intra-Africa trade. This is the kind of leadership Africa expects South Africa and Nigeria to provide.

In this regard, South Africa’s solid minerals mining experience can contribute to solid minerals exploration in Nigeria. Our experience in electricity generation can also be tapped into, to assist in Nigeria’s electricity generation, to name but a few.

The South African Airways direct flight route between Johannesburg and Abuja, which commenced operations on 26 January 2015, has added to the Johannesburg and Lagos route which has been operational for a good number of years now.

The route indicates the growing relations between our two countries.It also provides potential to boost tourism both ways. It reduces travel time between Abuja and Pretoria for intergovernmental cooperation and boosts business engagements between the two countries.”

Global warming

“The post 2015 development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to be led from the front by collaboration between South Africa and Nigeria on behalf of Africa, considering that we are the biggest economies on the Continent.

We should strive not to be left behind in the fourth technological revolution. We need to take into consideration the need to be sensitive to new environmental dynamics such as those of global warming and alternative energy sources.”

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