THE High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo yesterday ruled out the possibility of the two countries being at loggerheads for a long time.
Mamabolo spoke in Abuja during the former opening of a grand mall put together by South African investors in partnership with their Nigerian counterparts.
He said: “Sometimes we cross lines and we miss the point entirely. We focus on some very wrong things. People say Nigeria and South Africa are fighting, there is nothing like that. The point is, we need to work together politically, economically and otherwise. Nigeria and South Africa need each other.”
Mamabolo recalled Nigeria’s support for his country over the years and said: “Nigeria supported South Africa even long before we were born, because I don’t consider ourselves in existence during the apartheid regime. Nigeria was there to support us until we came out of it.”
He maintained that in the area of trade and investment, the two countries had to work together not only for the benefit of the two nations, but also for the African continent.
The South African envoy hinted that economically, the investment between the two countries had grown in the last few years with the development seeing South Africa companies establishing in Nigeria and vice versa.
But he noted that the development was seen to be a bit lopsided as there was more of South Africa’s presence in Nigeria than Nigeria’s companies in South Africa.
Mamabolo said that the lack of equity was inevitable because the two nations’ economies were not the same. Another reason he gave was the over-dependence of Nigeria on oil.
His words: “South Africa’s economy is much more diversified, there are much more things to buy in South Africa than what we are buying from Nigeria because we have so many new companies. Unfortunately in Nigeria they focus more on oil than any other thing. So there would always be this lopsidedness. But we are trying to address what could be done to save the situation because there is no way the lopsidedness can continue.”
Mamabolo hinted that his country had establish a bi-national commission to address the issue of lopsidedness and also redefine and fine-tune ways investment could grow between the two countries.
“Some of the measure we took to facilitate improvement of investment in South Africa is what we call bi-national commission. And just recently, the Nigerian vice president was in South Africa to find out what could be done in terms of trying to see how to exploit trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. The commission gave a very good indication just this June that both countries can work together at all fronts,” he said.
He added that whatever might have happened between the two countries in the past should be forgotten.
“We are very happy with the development of the bi-national commission and we are looking forward to many other issues. I can actually say that there is no doubt that there is a relationship between the two countries.”