South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will be visiting Nigeria on Wednesday for the first time since taking over power from former President Jacob Zuma in February this year.
Ramaphosa is expected to meet his counterpart Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
It is expected discussions between both leaders will be aimed at bolstering economic ties among two of Africa’s largest economies despite diplomatic relations having been strained recently.
In 2015, Nigeria imposed a fine of over R69 billion on South African telecom giant MTN, over its failure to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards.
Former President Zuma visited the country in 2016 to discuss issues relating to the treatment of South African businesses in Nigeria, different positions on a number of international issues as well as complains by Nigerian firms in South Africa on the lack of investment opportunities.
Also, it is expected that both leaders will address the recent spate of xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, 117 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa between 2016 and 2018.
The latest incidence occurred only last week, when a young Nigerian was shot dead in his home, sparking outrage among the Nigerian community in South Africa.
However, some analysts argue that the discussions may be centered on the R39 trillion continental free-trade zone agreement.
It is also expected that President Buhari will be looking to boost trade agreements to strengthen Nigeria’s economy as well as address the issue of xenophobic attacks against it’s citizens in South Africa.