By Michael Eboh
As part of efforts targeted at improving bilateral relationship between South Africa and Nigeria, the South African Ambassador to Nigeria has called on Nigerian investors and financial institutions to expand their operations and activities to South Africa in order to take advantage of the vast opportunities present in the region.
Speaking during a visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Tuesday, the Ambassador, Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo expressed concerns that despite the exploit of Nigerian banks and other financial institutions in the African and global financial scene, none of the institutions have considered commencing operations in South Africa, except for a few who have recently indicated their interest.
He promised that the government of the country has set up a committee to investigate the major causes of hindrances to trade between both countries, noting that this is part of its commitment to removing barriers to commerce and investment between both countries.
He said, â€œWe are impressed by the resilience of the Nigerian capital market to the global economic crisis, and we believe there is a lot to be learnt from these by other markets in the region and the globe. We wonder why there are no Nigerian bank and other financial institutions in South Africa, despite their performances in the past years. To this end, we have set up a committee to investigate factors hindering trade promotions between both countries, if any exists, and address the factors. This is a testimony to the fact that we are seriously committed to addressing the issue of hindrances to commerce between both countries, because we believe there are enormous opportunities to be harnessed in our partnership.â€
He disclosed that a huge percentage of its trade with Nigeria is in the area of crude oil, noting that it is considering shifting its focus away from the petroleum sector to other areas of immense potentials, such as real estate, tourism, agriculture among others.
He noted that trade between both countries is growing significantly and that it will further advise South African investors to discard negative perceptions about Nigeria, and that it will also urge them make meaningful investment so as to take advantage of opportunities in the Nigerian economy.
Speaking in the same vein, the Director-General of the NSE, Professor (Mrs.) Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, promised to encourage Nigerian financial institutions to take advantage of opportunities in South Africa, advising them on the need to expand their activities to the country.
She noted that trade, partnership and bilateral relationship between both countries would be difficult to consummate and sustain without the presence of financial institutions in Nigerian presence in South Africa and vice versa.
She promised to contribute meaningfully to ensuring that the enabling environment is provided for Nigerian banks and other financial institutions to venture into the South African market.