Experts advocate increased collaboration between Nigeria, South Africa
Consistent business collaborations of private sector stakeholders across countries on the African continent would surely guarantee its economic growth, eradicate poverty and place Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on a better platform for transacting business with European countries.
The Consular General of the South African Consulate in Lagos, Darkie Africa stated this at the 2022 South African/Nigeria Trade Mission Business Networking Seminar put together by Grandieu Nigeria Limited in collaboration with Western Cape Tourism Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (WESGRO), Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA) in Lagos.
According to the Consular General, there is a need for Nigeria and South Africa, being the two biggest economies on the continent, to come together and bridge the gap so that both countries can get the right trajectory for economic growth.
“There are South African manufacturers of products that are in high demand in Nigeria. They are here to seek possible investment opportunities. Nigerians who understand logistics and channel of distribution can partner with them,” he said.
Head, Africa – International Trade & Outward Investment Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, WESGRO, Mr. Michael Gamwo, on his part, identified continuous partnership between private sector stakeholders in Nigeria and South Africa as the only means of guaranteed African economic growth.
He said that is the only way forward for onward African growth, which will go a long way in reducing poverty to the barest minimum on the continent.
Representative of South African/Nigeria Business Chambers, Owolabi Salako, said Nigeria and South Africa had a bi-National Commission Agreement last year December and also launched the Joint Ministerial Advisory Council with the aims and objectives basically for governments of both countries to work with private sector stakeholders.
“The event is the starting point of coming up with an information exchange platform where trade, industry and investing culture of both countries can be explored and used in harmonising private stakeholders in both countries to achieve the set goals of African Continental Free Trade,” he said.
In his submission, the Deputy Director, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mr Byron Isi, lauded the organiser for the initiative.
Stating that henceforth, intra-African trade will grow and the boundaries are removed, thereby enabling investors to transact businesses beyond the shores of their countries as the potential of growth within the African circles will be increased.
The NIPC Deputy Director reiterated the need for full participation of SMEs across Africa in order to drive the continent’s economic growth.
He said every great economy is based on the inclusiveness of its small-scale industry, which is the basket that the big companies grow from, adding that SMEs should not be ignored in both national and international investment architecture.
Isi, however, advised that the government should offer support by giving the SMEs an enabling environment to survive as they will become a multiplier of opportunities in business and enable growth in the economy.
The Managing Director, Grandieu Limited, Mr David Bibiem, disclosed that the main purpose of organising the programme is to empower businesses, create wealth as well as sustainable business development and collaboration between countries in Africa.
On the prospect of synergy between Nigeria and South Africa in the next five years, Bibiem said lots of Nigerian companies have gone into partnership with South African businesses and are doing very well.
He noted that the South Africans are taking the initiatives and helping their businesses to develop, adding that if Nigeria wants to make gains in the next five to 10 years it must start now.
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