REMARKS BY PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA AT THE END OF THE OFFICIAL TALKS WITH HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
Your Excellency, My Dear Brother
President Goodluck Jonathan and your distinguished delegation,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
It is my honour and privilege to welcome His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan to our country for this historic State Visit.
I thank you Mr President, for accepting my invitation.
Your visit has generated a lot of interest, excitement and optimism in our country, given the historical relations between Nigeria and South Africa.
As we head towards celebrating 20 years of freedom next year, we remain highly appreciative of the solidarity that the South African liberation struggle and our people enjoyed from successive governments and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We have a duty to take these historical relations further.
Our two countries already have growing and very warm bilateral relations, structured through the Bi-National Commission (BNC) that was officially inaugurated in 1999.
We have today witnessed the signing of new Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. Our Ministers will ensure the effective implementation of these instruments, and the conclusion of outstanding ones.
Your Excellency, I am happy that we have prioritised economic cooperation during this visit.
I am certain that the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum that is meeting today here in Cape Town will further boost economic relations between our two countries.
To date, over 100 South African companies are doing business in Nigeria, with the biggest investment being in the telecommunications sector.
We welcome the participation of South African business in other sectors in Nigeria as well, such as engineering, construction, media, banking, retail, hospitality, oil and gas exploration and services.
We have also seen a keen interest from Nigerian business in investing and doing business in South Africa across a number of sectors.
Also important is the need to promote people to people linkages, especially through tourism.
Last year South Africa received a total of 73 282 Nigerian tourists, which is a 13.8% increase to the 64 402 Nigerian tourists who visited South Africa in 2011. We welcome this upward trend.
Our records indicate that Nigerian tourists contributed a total of R720 million to the South African economy last year. To boost tourism links further, South Africa is in the process of opening a tourism office in Lagos.
We urge South Africans to also visit Nigeria and explore this sister country which has historically played a prominent role in the continent and in world affairs.
In our discussions, we exchanged views on political developments in the continent, especially against the background of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Union, now the African Union.
Our two countries share a common vision on issues of political and economic integration in Africa.
We also share a common vision on the need for a sustainable conflict resolution mechanism in Africa that is primarily driven by Africans.
South Africa and Nigeria also share a common vision on the need for the reform of the multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF and the World Bank to reflect the realities of the changed and changing international environment.
We must take cooperation further on these issues.
As we mark the golden jubilee on the 25th of May, it is crucial to build a stronger and well-resourced African Union to take forward the promotion of peace, security and the socio-economic advancement of the continent.
Part of the capacity needed by the AU is the establishment of the African Standby Force for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delays.
The need for an intervention brigade has become more crucial in light of the situations of instability in the Central African Republic, the eastern DRC and Mali, where decisive intervention is needed.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tomorrow, the World Economic Forum meeting will begin here in Cape Town and we are happy that you will attend the gathering Your Excellency.
The meeting provides an opportunity to further showcase the success of the continent.
Statistics indicate that over the past 10 years, the world’s ten fastest growing economies were in Africa.
Indeed Africa has a positive story to tell.
Where there are challenges, they are being attended to. That is our message to WEF this week as the African hosts of this prestigious Forum.
Let me reiterate our pleasure in hosting our esteemed guest, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan and his delegation on this historic occasion. We are very pleased with the outcomes of our discussions.
I thank you.