PRETORIA – Two of Africa’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, are today expected to renew longstanding bilateral ties during the ninth Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC).
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor is hosting her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama ahead of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit on Thursday.
In her opening remarks on Wednesday, Pandor said South Africa considers Nigeria as a great friend and strategic partner.
“The historic bonds established during the liberation struggle continue today. [They are] now solely focused on addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment in the two countries,” she said at the meeting held at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s offices in Pretoria.
South Africa thanked Nigeria for its assistance in the recent outbreak of violence against some foreign nationals in South Africa.
“Thank you for your openness during the discussions as well as for assurances that have since been acted upon,” said the Minister.
Pandor is hopeful that the deliberations will further strengthen ties not only between Ministers and officials but between parliamentarians and citizens of the two countries.
The two countries were meeting during challenging times which are not insurmountable, she said.
“South Africa is determined to continue to implement and develop strategies directed at ensuring economic growth, strengthening economic development, and inclusive prosperity for the mutual benefit of all our people and the people of Nigeria.”
Tasks that will be agreed to during the BNC will lay a solid base for expanding economic cooperation and achieving increased levels of prosperity.
The success of the two African giants, she said, is critical for the success of the rest of the African continent.
“This session is our clear intention of further deepening ties. I’m encouraged to note that since the signing of the in BNC 1999 we have been purposeful in pursuing tangible outcomes aimed at ensuring real change,” she said.
Today’s meeting is also expected to assess progress in the implementation programme of the two countries’ bilateral agreements since their last meeting.
Onyeama said Nigeria sees South Africa as a brother, adding that both countries are key to the development of the continent.
Both Nigeria and South Africa, he said, have agreed to address the recent attacks on foreign nationals.
The two countries have a lot to learn from each other, he said.