SA economy needs Africa – Cyril

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphasised the need to promote economic integration on the continent‚ saying the growth of SA’s economy depends on trade with other African countries.

Ramaphosa wrote this in his weekly newsletter‚ which focused on last week’s state visit to SA by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari.

He said for trade among African countries to work‚ Nigeria and SA, as the continent’s largest economies‚ needed to maintain good relations.

This comes after foreigners living in SA‚ including Nigerians‚ were attacked in September‚ causing a diplomatic fallout between the two countries.

It prompted Buhari to visit SA‚ an exercise Ramaphosa said was extremely successful.

“President Buhari and I both firmly believe that the prosperity and stability of our two nations‚ and all other countries on the continent‚ require that SA and Nigeria have strong relations at an economic‚ trade‚ social‚ political‚ diplomatic and people-to-people level‚” Ramaphosa said.

“This will result in a much more integrated and more cohesive Africa.

“SA’s future lies in Africa and it is through our trade with the rest of the continent that we will grow our industries.

“It is expected that over the next few decades there will be a massive increase in investment in infrastructure across Africa‚ which should benefit SA construction companies‚ manufacturers and banks.”

Ramaphosa acknowledged that many African countries’ economies were growing at a faster pace than that of SA.

This was why SA signed the African Continental Free Trade Area pledge to ensure it benefited from the economic growth of the continent.

But these efforts had been dealt a major blow by the recent attacks, he said.

“With our relatively established manufacturing base‚ our developed road‚ rail‚ port and energy infrastructure‚ and our deep financial markets‚ SA is well placed to make use of the opportunities a free trade area could provide.

“The recent public violence targeting foreign nationals has challenged our efforts to build stronger ties with other African countries,” Ramaphosa said.

“Fuelled by misinformation spread on social media‚ these attacks provoked much anger in different parts of the continent‚ leading to threats against SA businesses and diplomatic missions.

“Nigeria and SA are important for each other’s economies – more than 100 SA companies have investments in Nigeria and over 1‚700 have active trade relations in the country.”

He said trade between the two countries was worth about R50bn in 2018, with SA importing a significant amount of its fuel from Nigeria.

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