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SA, Nigeria aim to revive relations damaged by xenophobic attacks

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed business from the two countries on the side-lines of President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit on Thursday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (left) and President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Tshwane on Thursday, 3 October 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa and Nigeria agreed to elevate their co-operation to presidential level to revive relations that were battered by recent xenophobic violence.

Ramaphosa addressed business from the two countries on the side-lines of President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit on Thursday. He said business should get ready for the African market that was set to be bigger than India and China in 30 years.

The combined GDP of Africa was estimated at $2.5 trillion and the continental free trade area was expected to unlock that potential.

Ramaphosa said South Africa and Nigeria agreed to be at the forefront of that initiative.

“As the two largest economies on the continent and as the industrial linchpins in our respective regions, Nigeria and South Africa have a unique role to play in reviving integration.”

The president outlined the sectors that were ripe for the picking.

“The plan recognises the important role the automotive sector can play in promoting industrial development. Both South Africa and Nigeria need to upgrade their electricity generation capacity,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said the African Development Bank estimated at least $130 billion annually for infrastructure on the continent to be at its optimum.

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