South Africa partners with Nigeria on Africa’s development

Lawan Hamidu & Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

South Africa has pledged to partner with Nigeria in its quest to diversify the country’s economy through the development of agriculture, solid minerals and power sectors.

The South African President Jacob Zuma made the pledge while addressing the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, as part of his three day visit to Nigeria.

Mr. Zuma who described the two countries’ as the African Giants said South Africa and Nigeria will complement one another for Africa to achieve stability and peace as well as the much needed development.

“South African solid minerals mining experience can contribute to solid minerals exploration in Nigeria. Our success in electricity can also be tapped into to assist the Nigerian electricity generation.” Mr. Zuma said.

Mr. Zuma who commended Nigeria’s frontline role towards freedom and an end to Apartheid in South Africa, specially noted the pro-Africa commitment of former head of state, Murtala Muhammed, for his Afrocentric foreign policy and the liberation struggle in South Africa.

He said Nigeria and South Africa had leadership roles to play to achieve peace and prosperity in Africa and that Africa should move away from its colonial status of being producer of primary commodities in the international economic system to producer of finished goods.

He said that “Africa is vulnerable to the volatility of the global economy, Nigeria and South Africa will complement one another to achieve a lot. A stable and peaceful Africa is a pre-requisite for the continent’s overall development.”

Improved Cooperation

The South African leader, who described the honour done to him by allowing him address the National Assembly as an indication of the serious relationship between Nigeria and South Africa advocated improved cooperation between the two nations.

“Although Nigeria and South Africa have many Memorandum of Understanding and bilateral agreements, both countries should pursue their implementations for mutual benefits.” the South African leader stressed.

The Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his remarks said President Zuma’s visit speaks volumes on how much his government and the people of South Africa value and cherish the fledging bilateral relationship between both countries.

According to Saraki, “the visit is a testament to the collective aspiration and recognition that Nigeria and South Africa must come together, act together and grow together to forge a new African reawakening, built on  democracy and the rule of law.”

Senator Saraki believes that, as African leaders, they must forge a new path to greater African integration through the easing of trade restrictions, travel restrictions and better policy action towards inter African investment and support.

The Speaker House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara for his part pledge unabated fraternity with the South African Legislature in the promotion of these ideals.

“If collaboration between Nigeria and citizens of South Africa who were locked in the most ruthless and crudest form of colonialism, could help in dismantling Apartheid, one can only but imagine what would happen to our continent when Nigeria effectively engages a free South Africa.” Mr. Dogara added

Mr. Zuma was accompanied to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in a historic appearance. It was the first time a foreign leader would be accompanied by the host president to the National Assembly to address the Nigerian lawmakers.