Nigeria: Presidents Buhari, Ramaphosa sign new areas of understanding
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria and South Africa need to strengthen people-to-people relations to prevent unhealthy competition among their citizens.
Buhari made the comment on Wednesday when he received President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at the opening of the 10th Session of Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Abuja.
He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to improving a “special relationship’’ with South Africa, which he said will translate into gains for the continent, particularly in education, science, trade and investment, tourism, and security.
The president said a strong bond 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.
“Mr. President, permit me to state that some of the challenges identified during the last Bi-National Commission (BNC) 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,” Buhari said.
“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.
“Let me at this point re-iterate my commitment to ensure that the special relationship between our two countries is continually strengthened.”
Buhari commended his South African counterpart for initiating the Nigeria–South Africa Youth Dialogue.
“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,” he said.
“I hope that beyond being a vehicle for mutual learning and understanding by our youth, it would also foster the kindred spirit of humanity towards others as prescribed in the great South African traditional philosophy of Ubuntu. That would lay a solid foundation for the realization of the Africa that we want.”