7 May 2013
Maximum co-operation between Nigeria and South Africa is necessary for Africa to move forward, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said following a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Jonathan and Zuma were addressing a media briefing that was preceded by the signing of a raft of cooperation agreements between Africa’s two economic powerhouses.
These included agreements to cooperate in the fields of defence, oil and gas, mining, electricity, information technology, justice, woman and child development, and the environment.
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru also signed a waiver for visas for those holding diplomatic passports.
Jonathan pointed out that in all its visits to South Africa, Nigeria had never signed as many agreements with the country.
Jonathan is on a two-day state visit to South Africa – his first official visit to the country – after which he will be attending the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting starting in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Zuma said that Jonathan’s visit had generated a lot of optimism and excitement, given the historical relations between the two countries. He said Nigeria and South Africa had already fostered strong relations since the launch of a bi-national commission in 1999.
Zuma said the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum taking place later on Tuesday would further boost economic relations between the two countries, pointing out that over 100 South African companies were already doing business in Nigeria.
He said South Africa had hosted over 73 000 Nigerian tourists in 2012, an increase of nearly 14% over 2011.
South African Tourism was in the process of opening an office in Lagos, the President added, urged South Africans to visit Nigeria.
Nigeria played a prominent role on the continent and in world affairs, Zuma said, adding that South Africa and Nigeria shared a common vision on the reform of IMF and World Bank and other multilateral organisations.