File: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (L) and South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands following their opening remarks during his official state visit at Union Buildings in Pretoria, on October 3, 2019.
PRETORIA - Following talks with his Nigerian counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa is optimistic South Africa will benefit through the African Continental Free Trade Area.
In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa says the economy and industries will grow through trade with the rest of the continent.
“South Africa’s future lies in Africa. It is through our trade with the rest of the continent that we will grow our industries,” Ramaphosa said.
“The African marketplace is where our companies will increasingly find trading and investment opportunities. It is expected that over the next few decades there will be a massive increase in investment in infrastructure across Africa, which should benefit South African construction companies, manufacturers and banks.
“The economies of the African continent are together growing at a rate far greater than our own, and we need to see the opportunity that such growth presents for our economy and for our people. It is for this reason that we have embraced the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
Ramaphosa also expressed hope of more business with Nigeria after what he calls successful talks.
The two leaders agreed to set up a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment that will facilitate bilateral business.
"President Buhari and I had an opportunity also to discuss the various difficulties that South African and Nigerian businesses encounter when trying to invest and operate in each other’s countries,” Ramaphosa said.
“There was a clear message from the business forum that was held on the sidelines of the state visit that there is a great deal of business interest in both South Africa and Nigeria and that we need to work harder to clear the blockages. We have therefore set up a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment that will meet regularly to facilitate bilateral business and, where necessary, sort out problems.”
Ramaphosa and Buhari also promised to set up an early warning mechanism to share information to help prevent future attacks on foreign nationals.