October 4, 2019

Nigeria, South Africa seal 32 trade pacts

By Yinka Kolawole, with agency report

Nigeria and South Africa, yesterday, signed 32 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding covering trade and industry, science and technology, defence, agriculture and energy, thus expanding Africa’s deepest trade relationship.

Nigeria, South Africa

The signing of the agreements is coming weeks after a wave of violence against Nigerians and other African nationals in Johannesburg and Pretoria had strained relations between the continent’s top two economies.

The dozens of accords will enable the two countries leverage on the recently agreed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and also boost Nigeria’s efforts to diversify its economy which relies on oil to generate two-thirds of government revenue and more than 90 per cent of export income.

At a joint briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari in Pretoria, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We have identified key sectors for investment to boost economic growth and development. These sectors include roads, rail infrastructure, mining, manufacturing and agro-processing.”

Also read: State Visit: Buhari, Ramaphosa to discuss safety of Nigerians still living in South Africa

Nigeria is South Africa’s largest trading partner on the continent, with trade flows estimated at $4.48 billion last year. Only 9 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade is intra-African, and almost half of that is with South Africa, according to data from the Stellenbosch-based Trade Law Centre.

South Africa ranks eighth among Nigeria’s top ten trading partners in 2018, ahead of Belgium and Germany

Ramaphosa also expressed his remorse over anti-immigrant violence last month that strained relations between the two nations.

“We have expressed our deep regret at the events of the past few weeks that manifested themselves through attacks that were directed at foreign nationals and our condemnation of all forms of intolerance and acts of violence remains very, very firm,” Ramaphosa said.