South Africa and Nigeria, the biggest economies on the continent, have both concluded elections and governments in both countries are, with a renewed mandate, looking at the road ahead.
Despite their size and potential, the nations are in low-growth trajectories currently, with GDP in Nigeria expected to be 2.1% according to the IMF, which puts South Africa’s growth at a likely 1.2% this year, down from its original forecast of 1.4%.
But while these two African giants may be growing at well below their potential, they remain pivotal states in the continental firmament.
According to Brand South Africa, the total African GDP/economic output in 2017/18 was $2,175bn. Of this, South Africa’s output was $295bn and Nigeria’s $405bn. It Egypt’s GDP output of $332bn is added, these three countries contribute nearly 50 percent to Africa’s total economic output.
For this reason, it is imperative for Africa’s leading economies to find new and inspiring ways of supporting, enhancing, and deepening trade and investment, and building business partnerships to underpin greater African integration and human development.
The relationship between the countries has been complex and dogged by issues on both sides but there is always an opportunity to address these challenges and build a vital relationship to the benefit of both countries.
In this regard, the South Africa-Nigeria Business Chamber hosted the South Africa-Nigeria Investment Conference yesterday on 24 June 2019 as part of its mandate to build bridges between the two countries. The event enabled discussions on a range of issues related to trade, investment and business requirements, with a specific focus on the Nigerian market.
Nigeria remains a key export destination for South Africa, which exported goods valued at R6.4bn in 2016 while Nigerian exports to South Africa totalled R30.4bn. In 2017, South African exports were valued at R5.7bn against R22.8bn imports from Nigeria, which is a major supplier of crude oil to Pretoria.
The keynote speaker was top Nigerian economist and analyst Dr Doyin Salami with the line up at the one-day event having included Ralph Mupita, CFO of the biggest South African investor in Nigeria – MTN, Sola Adegbesan from Standard Bank, Celeste Fauconnier from Rand Merchant Bank, Nick Ndurito from Allan Gray, Sifiso Nzimande from Transnet, Margaret Dawes from Sanlam Pan African and Alan Mukoki from SACCI.
Nigerian speakers also included Yewande Sadiku, CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, property expert Bode Adediji, Ebele Eunwa who is rolling out a chain of supermarkets in Nigeria and Omosalwea Adeyemi from one of the fastest-growing fintech companies globally, Flutterwave.