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South Africa Seeks  Strategic Partnership with Nigeria Against Global Economy Volatility

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The South African President, Jacob Zuma has said that being the two largest economies on the African continent, there is need for Nigeria and South Africa to forge a strong strategic partnership, that would insulate their economies from the volatility of the global economy.

Zuma who made the submission on Tuesday while addressing the joint session of the National Assembly, disclosed that South Africa already has not less than 120 companies in Nigeria from a mere four companies in 1999 as a way of maximizing the big Nigerian market with attendant economic benefits for both countries.

He said there was room for greater business to business engagements particularly in the areas Nigeria has identified as potential growth sectors.

Diversification  of the economies of the two Nations according to him, should be the key for them in actualizing such strategic partnership  of economic benefits between them and insulation from the global economic crisis.

Such diversification and economic collaboration , he added, can be done in strategic areas of  electricity generation and supply, agriculture and agro-processing, tourism development including the hospitality sector, mining, banking, infrastructure development, aviation, manufacturing and the automotive sector.

He said: “We must strive for the diversification of our economies, so as to cast the net wide enough to create more job opportunities for our people, to improve their living conditions and grow our economies through domestic resources in the first instance.

“In doing this, we would break away from the colonial legacy that turned Africa into providers of primary commodities and recipients of processed goods. This is important because the current state of affairs makes Africa vulnerable to the volatilities of the international economy that sustains the uneven terms of trade.

“This diversification will go further to improve the impact that Africa can have in the global economy and to reconfigure the terms of trade.

“We must strive to bring the manufacturing plants closer to the sources of raw materials. South Africa and Nigeria can to a large extent complement each other towards the achievement of this.

“The current global economic climate, as the previous global economic crisis, has exposed the vulnerability of our economies and currencies and thus calls for concerted efforts toward South-south and intra-Africa cooperation.

“Economic cooperation between our two countries can therefore serve as bedrock of the continent’s economic cooperation and intra-Africa trade. This is the kind of leadership Africa expects South Africa and Nigeria to provide.

“In this regard, South Africa’s solid minerals mining experience can contribute to solid minerals exploration in Nigeria. Our experience in electricity generation can also be tapped into, to assist in Nigeria’s electricity generation, to name but a few”.

Zuma in his submission, thanked Nigeria for her historic roles in the liberation of his country from Apartheid regime by particularly eulogizing the late General Murtala Muhammad for leading other African leaders in the mid 70s to champion the struggle .

His words: “This year marks the 40 Anniversary of the passing of one of the illustrious sons of Nigeria and Africa, General Murtala Mohammed. His tenure only lasted 200 days but it had a profound impact, particularly on the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa.

“Nigeria supported the liberation struggles of the people of Southern Africa and South Africa specifically outside of the multilateral fora.

“In his powerful speech to the OAU Extraordinary Summit on Angola in 1976, General Mohammed opened his address by saying and I quote:

“Mr Chairman, when I contemplate the evils of apartheid, my heart bleeds and I am sure the heart of every true blooded African bleeds.’

In conclusion General Mohammed said: “Africa has come of age.” and will “no longer accept dictates from any so-called superpower.”      

“It was within this context that General Murtala Mohammed, immediately after the situation in Angola was explained to him, withdrew Nigeria’s support of the OAU position calling for a Government of National Unity between the FNLA of Holden Roberto, UNITA of Jonas Savimbi and the MPLA of Augostinho Neto.

“He took a firm decision for Nigeria to support the MPLA, which resonated with the position of many liberation movements in Southern Africa, including our own – the African National Congress.

“It is thus clear that ours are time-tested relations. Engagements between our countries far predate the formal relations established after South Africa attained its freedom.

“The people of Nigeria provided unwavering support and solidarity to the people of South Africa, to unseat the last bastion of colonialism in Africa and enable us to attain our freedom.

“I would like to remind especially the youth in our two countries, of the role that Nigeria played in the struggle for liberation in South Africa.

“Nigeria was very instrumental in establishing, in the 1960s and the chairing, for 25 years, the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid, and further hosted a UN anti-apartheidconference in 1977.

“From the mid-70s, Nigeria and its people also hosted some of the exiled freedom fighters from South Africa, with numbers increasing after the Soweto Student Uprising in 1976.

“By coincidence or design, this year we also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Students Uprising in June 1976.”.


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