President Muhammadu Buhari has urged for a stronger emphasis on people-to-people relations between South Africa and Nigeria; to evolve to a point where there would be no need for unhealthy competition.
He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to improving a “special relationship’’ with South Africa, which will translate into gains for the continent, particularly in education, science, trade and investment, tourism and security.
Buhari said this on Wednesday when he received South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, at the State House, in Abuja.
At the opening of the 10th Session of Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission held in his office, Buhari said, “Mr President, permit me to state that some of the challenges identified during the last Bi-National Commission have not been completely addressed. We need to ensure that our people-to-people relations are enhanced to a point where there would be no need for unhealthy competition.
“In this regard, we need improvement in educational and scientific cooperation, mines and energy resources, transport and aviation, tourism, youth exchange programmes, trade and investment and military cooperation, to mention but a few.”
Buhari told ministers and government delegates of both countries that a strong bond of brotherhood between Nigeria and South Africa would be of great benefit to Africa as a catalyst for economic, technological, social and cultural development and as a force for peace and security on the continent.
At the end of the Summit, both Presidents signed additional agreements and reviewed some of the 32 existing agreements between Nigeria and South Africa.
They include Memoranda of Understanding on Youth Development, Women and Child Empowerment and Political Consultations, as well as other agreements.
According to Buhari, the agreement on Early Warning Mechanism would “improve the people-to-people relations of our two countries. Similarly, our two countries have established high-level official communication channels for diplomatic consultations, trade and investment, and will, shortly, inaugurate the Nigeria – South Africa Youth Dialogue. I am confident that these vehicles of engagement and cooperation will serve our mutual interests.”
The Nigerian President commended the South African leader for initiating the Nigeria–South Africa Youth Dialogue which he (Buhari) also endorsed.