The South Africa and Nigeria governments signed 32 trade and cooperation agreements on Thursday, reported Reuters. The deals follow Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s tour of South Africa in the wake of recent xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg in which Nigerians were targeted.
This is Mr. Buhari’s first official state visit to SA since the national general elections in May that is aimed at strengthening ties, especially in trade and investments, between the two countries.
Last month, the political relations between SA and Nigeria got strained after a wave of violence against Nigerian nationals in Johannesburg that resulted in the death of 12 people and repatriation of hundreds of people. Nigeria also repatriated around 600 of its citizens living in South Africa.
At the end of a two-day visit by the Nigerian leader who was accompanied by key ministers, SA Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Buhari said they regretted the violence and subsequent retaliation in Nigeria against South African businesses, pledging instead to deepen trade ties.
President Ramaphosa said his government expresses deep regret at the attacks directed at foreign nationals and condemns all forms of intolerance and acts of violence.
Mr. Buhari said the attacks were unacceptable and called for preventive measures.
“We call for the strengthening and implementation of all the necessary measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such actions,” he said.
The SA president said that the two of them hope to put the tension behind them and focus on economic cooperation. He confirmed that the two countries had inked 32 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding in sectors of trade and industry, defense, agriculture, science and technology, and energy.
Notably, Nigeria accounts for 64 percent of South Africa’s total trade with the West African Region and is one of its largest trading partners on the continent.