By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari have agreed to strengthen cooperation between their two countries, which are leading economic giants on the continent.
The two leaders met Thursday in the South African capital Pretoria during a state visit by Buhari and discussed a range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest.
“This visit has offered us an opportunity to renew the strong bonds that exist between our two nations,” Ramaphosa said in his opening remarks at a joint news briefing with Buhari.
The two presidents whose countries have signed 32 agreements and memorandums of understanding appreciated the vast nature of their countries’ bilateral cooperation.
The continent’s economic giants cooperate in a number of fields -- including trade and investment, energy, mining, defense and security issues among others.
“Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of African Union Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA),” said a joint communiqué issued following the news briefing.
Both leaders also condemned the recent attacks targeting African migrants in South Africa and discussed ways to avert the reoccurrence of such incidents.
“In the course of our discussions, and through various high-level engagements, we have had an opportunity to reflect on the public violence that took place in South Africa a few weeks ago,” Ramaphosa said.
He said his government has expressed its deep regret at the attacks directed at foreign nationals and they condemn all forms of intolerance and acts of violence.
“We are committed to addressing the genuine concerns of our people around poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs and migration,” he added.
Buhari also regretted the reprisal attacks targeting South African-owned businesses operating in Nigeria and said measures had been set to avoid reoccurrence of such attacks.
Nigeria accounts for 64% of South Africa’s total trade with the West African Region and is one of South Africa’s largest trading partners on the continent.