The push for stronger commercial ties between Nigeria and South Africa came from President Bola Tinubu.
Prior to the UN General Assembly, the Nigerian president made the call during a bilateral conversation with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday in New York City.
According to President Tinubu, Africa must come to an agreement that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent over the years through international development finance institutions must go towards addressing the unique needs of developing democracies in Africa, even if they do so solely out of enlightened self-interest.
The Nigerian president emphasised that while Africa has all the natural and people resources needed for growth, more cooperation is still needed among its states.
In his words, “During the end of the Second World War, the Marshall Plan was established for the reconstruction and economic restoration of European nations through Bretton Woods institutions. Where has this presence been for Africa? We have to be careful not to replace the broken shackle of yesterday with a new set of shackles. You can not have a stable democracy in the presence of a poverty of knowledge and a starvation of people. Democracy without food on the table is a breeding ground for what will consume us, if care is not taken. We must join hands and agree that International Finance Institutions require reform as Africa is not to be a ground for economic scavenging any longer, but it is a place with gifted people that is ready for investment and cooperation.
“We have all the human and natural resources required between our nations. We can collaborate in a mutually beneficial way that enriches our populations. South African Mining industries have a role to play in the Nigerian solid minerals development sector. Your business community has done well in Nigerian Telecommunications. We have great mineral wealth across our land, and you have good expertise in this area. We expect to deliver jobs and mutually beneficial results in this area as brother and sister countries.”
The South African President recognised Tinubu’s prompt adoption of “brave” economic reforms at the meeting and concurred that the two nations still have a great deal of wealth to produce together in close and deliberate partnership, with each country relying on the assets of the other.
“We are two major economies on our continent, and it is important that we deepen economic ties, particularly in light of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. We are very keen on the deepening of our economic relations,” the South African President said.
The South African President emphasised that history has shown that when Nigeria and South Africa work together on issues of shared interest, they can make a significant impact on the globe.
“We would love to see Nigeria and South Africa working closely together on a number of issues because whenever we join hands, we have made an impact globally through those joint positions. Together, we can move the global south forward. We are a continent that has been plundered. And wealthy nations made so much of it from us, and we must seek out partners who will help us to advance our own interests,” the South African President emphasized.
The South African leader praised President Tinubu for his capable leadership as the head of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and urged Southern Africa to replicate the solidarity being shown in West Africa in the wake of the Niger Crisis.
“We believe that we have a lot to learn from ECOWAS and its unity in reaching consensus positions on sub-regional matters. This is something we seek to emulate in the Southern African sub-region in view of events in Mozambique and other areas,” President Ramaphosa said.
Following President Ramaphosa’s recent visit to Nigeria, the South African leader used the occasion of the bilateral meeting to invite President Bola Tinubu to visit South Africa as part of efforts to strengthen economic ties and the overall relationship between the two nations.
While accepting the invitation, President Tinubu stated that the strongest version of Africa is one in which Nigeria and South Africa are collaborating to advance their shared interests. This version of Africa, with its enormous human and natural resource wealth, can have a greater influence on international affairs for the benefit of more than one billion Africans.
“Our continent is the last untapped ground for accelerated, massive growth and new economic opportunity on earth. We must be in charge of our own resources, and we must work to use each other effectively to achieve what is best for all of us, Mr. President. We look forward to an era of economically productive relationship,” the Nigerian leader concluded according to a statement by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale.
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