Ramaphosa in Nigeria as he kickstarts four-nation West African tour
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Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday flew to Nigeria, commencing his week-long, four-nation visit to the West Africa region.
Ramaphosa and his entourage will visit Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.
“The visit, which concludes on December 7, serves to reinforce South Africa’s bilateral relations with the countries concerned and to strengthen partnerships directed at African development and cooperation in multilateral forums,” acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said.
“During this visit, South Africa and the partner states will explore ways to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area for mutual benefit and with greater support for businesses conducting intra-African trade and investment.”
Ramaphosa is accompanied by a delegation of ministers and business leaders, “in view of growing economic relations and people-to-people interaction between South Africa and these West African countries”, said Seale.
From Tuesday, Ramaphosa will be in Nigeria for a state visit at the invitation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The State Visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria will coincide with the 10th Session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) and will reflect on progress made in advancing trade and investment between the two countries,” said Seale.
The BNC is the highest structured bilateral mechanism between Nigeria and South Africa.
“The 10th session will allow the presidents to review progress made in the implementation of decisions and agree on new programmes to be implemented by the respective governments.
“It is expected that five new agreements and Memoranda of Understanding will be concluded by the respective ministers,” said Seale.
From Nigeria, Ramaphosa will visit the Côte d'Ivoire on December 2 and 3, where he will be hosted on a state visit at the invitation of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara.
“The state visit is significant and historic given that it is the first since diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire were established in May 1992,” said Seale.
In the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, Ramaphosa will also address the opening session of the Africa Investment Forum, jointly organised by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and the African Development Bank, under the theme: “Accelerating Transformative Investment in Africa”.
On conclusion of his visit to Côte d'Ivoire, Ramaphosa will proceed to Ghana from 4 to 5 December, where he will be hosted on a State Visit by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.
“The visit to the Republic of Ghana will culminate in an inaugural session of the Bi-National Commission.
“The bilateral relations between South Africa and Ghana have grown significantly over the years,” said Seale.
“Underlining these strong relations is the elevation of structured bilateral relations from a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) to a Bi-National Commission, to be chaired by the heads of State.”
Ramaphosa’s four-nation West Africa regional tour will conclude in Senegal where Ramaphosa will be on an official visit from December 6 to 7.
Ramaphosa will on December 6 participate in the Dakar Peace and Security Forum.
“On December 7, Ramaphosa will together with his delegation of ministers, engage in an official visit programme between South Africa and Senegal.
“South Africa and Senegal already enjoy cordial bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back to the years of the liberation struggle,” said Seale.
He said a number of agreements will be signed between South Africa and Senegal during the visit, which will include an agreement to elevate the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation from ministerial level to presidential level.
“This will allow for the further consolidation of ties between the two countries,” said Seale.
“All Covid-19 health protocols will be observed throughout the West African visit.
“This will include regular PCR testing of delegates.”