- Written by Godswill Unegbu
During the visit, the two leaders discussed extensively on a wide-range of issues of bilateral, regional and continental importance of common interest to both countries. It also afforded the two leaders opportunity to address the challenges that affect both countries overall diplomatic and socio-economic collaboration with a view to strengthening relations.
It is equally important to highlight that the visit afforded the two countries the opportunity to review the status of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) in the area of Petroleum, Defence, Power, Solid Minerals, Trade and Investment and many others. However, the two Presidents noted that, though a number of MOUs were signed between the two countries, they are yet to be fully implemented by both sides. The two leaders, therefore, gave assurance that efforts would be made to ensure speedy implementation of the MOUs for our mutual benefits.
The two Presidents also agreed to set up Special Implementation Committee (SIC) made up of officials of the relevant MDAs so that progress could be registered before the next Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting, to be hosted by Nigeria in 2016. In order to strengthen their commitment to further deepening the relations between the two countries, the two leaders agreed to upgrade the status of the BNC to be co-chaired by the Presidents of the two countries.
Another major highlight of the visit was the reciprocal honour given to President Jacob Zuma to address the joint session of the National Assembly. Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan had all addressed joint sessions of the South African Assembly in the past. By this action, Nigeria has sent a strong signal to Africa and the international community that Nigeria will continue to consult, collaborate and cooperate with South Africa in all areas to maintain our special relationship. The two leaders also agreed to continue to engage each other on matters of security and terrorism in the spirit of South-South cooperation.
The speech delivered by President Zuma at the opening of the Business Forum was well received by both parties. President Zuma encouraged Nigerian entrepreneurs to invest in South Africa.
On the whole, the state visit of President Zuma came at the right time because the government of Nigeria is gradually moving away from mono-product i.e oil, economy by prioritizing agriculture and solid minerals. The two leaders also agreed to explore new areas that would positively help many unemployed youth to develop their potentials to the fullest.
In conclusion, the visit was very successful to the satisfaction of both countries.