South Africa and Nigeria have reiterated their condemnation of the recent spate of violent attacks in South Africa against foreign nationals.
The two nations cemented their stance at the first incoming State visit hosted by South Africa under the sixth administration.
President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, for a State visit on Thursday.
President Buhari was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers and senior government officials.
The two Presidents also condemned the reprisal attacks that saw a wave of violent attacks on a number of South African businesses in Nigeria.
“South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and in this context advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa. As Africans, we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity,” said President Ramaphosa.
President Buhari emphasized the need for the rule of law to prevail and for security and police intelligence to be on high alert in anticipation of any potential attacks.
“I think Nigerians know the stand of the leadership that when you are in Rome, you do as the Romans do. When you are in a country, you stay with the people and follow the laws of that country. If you do anything outside of that, the people there are not going to accept it,” Buhari said.
President Ramaphosa used the opportunity to dispel the notion that the incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and South Africans were affected as well.
To prevent future occurrences of such attacks, the two Presidents endorsed the establishment of an early warning mechanism to be used as a preventative and monitoring platform.
Strengthening economic cooperation
During the State visit, the two presidents noted the vast nature of the two countries’ bilateral cooperation, which covers trade and investment, energy, mining, defense and security issues, justice, police, immigration, tourism, environment, education, transport as well as science and technology.
In this regard, the two Presidents signed 32 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. They committed to ensuring that those in force are fully implemented.
Noting the importance of economic cooperation, the two Presidents welcomed the Business Forum which took place on the margins of the State visit.
The two leaders further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade, and Investment.
The inaugural meeting of the council will be held no later than April 2020 in Abuja.
The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.
Both leaders took note of the significant footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast food industries.
They also noted and welcomed the business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment of Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.
On matters on the continent, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of the AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
On the international front, President Ramaphosa took the opportunity to congratulate Nigeria as the current chair of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
In the same vein, President Buhari also congratulated South Africa as the President of the United Nations Security Council for the month of October 2019 and as the upcoming chair of the African Union for the year 2020.