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Nigeria, South Africa to establish joint council on industry, trade and investment

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Patricia Ngwenya – South Africa

The federal government of Nigeria and the Republic of South Africa have agreed to establish a joint economic advisory council on industry, trade and investment.

This was the highpoint of trade talks between Presidents of the two countries yesterday Thursday 3rd October, at the Union buildings, Pretoria, South Africa.

President Muhammadu Buhari is on a three day visit to South Africa after a large scale xenophobic attack on foreign nationals in South Africa earlier in September.

About 700 Nigerians have left South Africa after the attack.

The joint economic council is part of renewed diplomatic and trade ties between the two countries after the xenophobic attack.

A joint communique after talks by the two nations says President Buhari and President Ramaphosa welcomed the idea.

“Presidents of the two nations welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment.”

“The inaugural meeting of the Council would be held not later than April 2020, in Abuja. The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation.”

The communique obtained by The Dune correspondent in South Africa is published below.

JOINT COMMUNIQUE ON THE OCCASION OF THE STATE VISIT
TO THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND THE INAUGURAL SESSION OF THE ELEVATED BI-NATIONAL COMMISSION BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA
03 OCTOBER 2019

1. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His
Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa; His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari,
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, paid a State Visit to South
Africa from 02 – 04 October 2019, and attended the inaugural session of
the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC), as part of continuing bilateral
engagements aimed at strengthening and deepening cooperation
between South Africa and Nigeria.

2. President Buhari was accompanied by a high level delegation
comprising State Governors, Ministers, and Senior Government Officials.

3. The two Heads of State reviewed a wide range of bilateral,
continental and global issues of common interest. They acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that exist between the two countries, and
the need to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.

4. The two Presidents noted with satisfaction the continued exchange
of high level visits and meetings between the two countries. In this regard, they recalled the successful working visit of President Ramaphosa to
Nigeria in July 2018, during which the two Heads of State reaffirmed their
collective desire and commitment to enhance political, economic and
social relations between the two countries.

5. The two Presidents appreciated the vast nature of the two countries’
bilateral cooperation which covers, amongst others; Trade and Investment, Energy, Mining, Defence and Security issues, Justice, Police,
Immigration, Tourism, Environment, Education, transport as well as
Science and Technology. In this regard, the two Presidents took note of
the thirty two (32) signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding
(MoUs), and committed themselves to ensuring that those which are in
force are fully implemented while those which are not yet in force are to
be revived for implementation.

6. Both Presidents noted with great satisfaction the economic
cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed the steps to
increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments. They
welcomed the important role of 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 would be held not
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.

7. 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 foods 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.

8. President Ramaphosa used the opportunity of the meeting to brief
President Buhari on the recent incidents of violence in South Africa
affecting foreign nationals. He also alluded to the fact that these
unfortunate incidents are not consistent with the values and principles
underpinning South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

9. President Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of
violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals,
as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as
well. The President assured his counterpart that the South African
Government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions
including engagements with diplomatic community and émigré
communities, security operations, policy and legislation reviews were
underway.

10. Both Presidents strongly condemned the attacks against foreign
nationals including Nigerians in South Africa and the reprisal actions
against South Africans and their interests in Nigeria. They expressed
strong commitment to take all necessary measures to stop a recurrence
of these attacks which they said undermine the vision of a strong and
prosperous Africa that the two countries have for the continent.

11. President Ramaphosa further contended that South Africa is an
integral part of the African continent and, in this context advocates for a
peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa, and that as Africans, we all have
a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity. He
further stated that we should never forget that our fellow Africans have
contributed to developing our economy, and that of the region and
similarly South Africans are helping to develop economies across the
continent.

12. Both Presidents condemned these violent incidents and the
destruction of property and reiterated their call for heightened law
enforcement. They stressed the importance of high level engagements on this unfortunate phenomenon as demonstrated by the reciprocal dispatch
of Special Envoys by both countries. In this regard, the two Presidents
endorsed the establishment of an Early Warning Mechanism and directed
the two Foreign Ministers to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism to be used as a preventative and monitoring platform.

13. The two Presidents further endorsed the reestablishment of the
Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria consular
Forum to meet twice a year.

14. At the Continental level, the two Presidents exchanged views on the
current political, economic and security situation in their respective
regions. They also expressed their grave concern on the ongoing
instability in some of the countries on the Continent and strongly
condemned the continued terrorist and extremist activities.

15. Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in
pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent
in the context of AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade
Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

16. On the international front, President Ramaphosa seized the
opportunity of the meeting 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 United Nations Security Council for the month of October
2019 and as the upcoming chair of the African Union for the year 2020.
They reiterated their call for the reform of the United Nations Security
Council.

17. President Buhari expressed profound gratitude for the warm
reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. He also took
the opportunity to invite President Ramaphosa to pay a reciprocal visit to
the Federal Republic of Nigeria on a date to be jointly agreed and
communicated through diplomatic channels.

18. In conclusion, the two Presidents reaffirmed the strategic relations
that exist between the two sister Republics and committed themselves to
working together to further enhance close political, economic and social
cooperation in the interest of their people and the continent.

DONE IN PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
03 OCTOBER 2019

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