“Why I Visited Buhari” – South African President Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday has given reasons for his first trip to the Nigerian capital.
Mr Ramaphosa, who addressed the press after the meeting, said his trip to Abuja was the first outside the Southern Africa region. He said he decided to visit Nigeria, first to send a signal that his government intends to pursue an Africa focused foreign policy.
“But in pursuing that African focused foreign policy, we would like to deepen our relationship with Nigeria, seeing that Nigeria is the most populous country on the whole continent whose economy is the largest on our continent,” he said.
The South African leader said it is important for the two countries to develop and deepen the relationship between them.
“Deepen them at a people to people level but also at an economy level and of course underpinned by good political relations between the two countries,” he said.
At the economic level, Mr Ramaphosa said various companies from South Africa are already doing business in Nigeria and are in a way “diplomats of our country.”
At the political level, he said he took advantage of the visit “to thank the people of Nigeria and the leadership of Nigeria over many years for the support they gave to our struggle.”
“Nigeria which is six hours away from South Africa was proudly regarded as a front line state because it was really at the front line of our titanic struggle against apartheid.
“Nigeria and indeed Nigerians never flinched for a minute in support of our struggle. In fact Nigerians even took it a little further, President Buhari related that Nigerians through their households contributed money into the Organisation of African Union Fund to support the struggle against apartheid.
“So, I took time to thank President Buhari and Nigerians for the support that we received during our struggle”.
What we discussed. The visiting president also gave an insight of what he discussed with his host. He said they decided to deepen the relations between the two countries.
“To this end, we are going to focus on the Bi-National Commission that was set up between our two countries and make sure that the place where it is elevated to at the president level, is where the action should happen,” he said.
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