South Africa, Nigeria eye mutual benefits from AfCFTA, strengthened trade relations

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents significant opportunities for South Africa and Nigeria, according to Evelyn Ngige, the Nigerian Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade, and Investment.

Ngige’s remarks came during her visit to South Africa, where the West African nation seeks to enhance trade relations with its southern counterpart. The Nigerian High Commission hosted the meeting to foster partnership between the two continental giants.

With a focus on strengthening trade ties, South Africa and Nigeria, recognised as the two largest economies in sub-Saharan Africa, are placing their hopes on the AfCFTA to rejuvenate their economies. Ngige emphasised the numerous benefits of AfCFTA, including increased intra-Africa trade, skills transfer, cross-border expansion, socio-economic development, comprehensive border management approaches, and the boost to trade and tourism in both countries and the wider continent.

Nigeria-South Africa business partnership enhanced through trade and investment

Investors acknowledge the long-standing trade relationship between the two nations. Samuel Ikechukwu, a Nigerian businessman, highlighted the bilateral trade agreement established during the presidencies of Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki, which facilitated the exchange of goods and services between Nigeria and South Africa.

Ikechukwu also noted the ongoing bilateral trade activities between the two countries, with Nigerian businesses involved in manufacturing and selling goods in both nations.

Muhammad Haruna Manta, the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa, acknowledged the existence of occasional challenges in the relationship between the two countries. He emphasised that despite misconceptions and a lack of education, Nigerian residents in South Africa contribute significantly to the economy through entrepreneurship and job creation.

Manta has urged the government to provide education and ensure fair application of the law, acknowledging that criminality should not be associated with nationality.

African Continental Free Trade Area Business Forum 2023:
 Over 120 South African businesses operate in Nigeria, and Nigerian entities believe there is potential for their presence in South Africa. Andrew Idi, the Managing Director of Access Bank, highlighted the bank’s operations in 13 African countries, including Nigeria and South Africa. He emphasised the importance of facilitating trade between African nations and recognised the size of the South African economy.

In addition to economic cooperation, South Africa and Nigeria share common goals of maintaining peace and security on the continent. The two countries continue to find inspiration in their efforts to promote stability in Africa.

As South Africa and Nigeria explore further opportunities for collaboration and trade, the AfCFTA emerges as a crucial platform to foster economic growth, promote intra-African trade, and strengthen ties between the two largest economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The role of women and youth is critical to the success of AfCFTA: