Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is expected in South Africa Monday to discuss ways to boost trade relations between Africa’s two biggest economies.
During his two-day state visit, Jonathan will discuss with his counterpart, Jacob Zuma, ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which opens Wednesday in Cape Town, a statement from his office indicated.
Regional and global leaders are expected to assemble at the Forum to brainstorm on new strategies for accelerating economic diversification and the availability of essential infrastructure on the continent.
The statement added that the Forum which has “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” as its theme, is expected to provide a platform for African leaders, business and civil society and their counterparts from other regions of the world to deepen the continent’s integration agenda.
The Forum is also expected to renew their commitment to creating a sustainable path of development that would further unlock Africa’s potential and talents.
Jonathan and his delegation would also participate in the Grow Africa Investment Forum, being jointly hosted in Cape Town by the AU, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the World Economic Forum.
The Nigerian President is also expected to hold meetings with South African- based MTN telecommunications and car manufacturers, Toyota and Nissan.
MTN is Nigeria’s largest mobile operator, with more than 47-million subscribers.
Jonathan was invited to visit South Africa by Zuma, who visited Nigeria – Africa’s second-largest economy – last month to discuss security problems facing the continent.
During the economic forum, leaders from Africa and abroad will look at ways to speed up the diversification of economies and infrastructure growth.
Jonathan and other businessmen and ministers, including Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man will also meet with captain of trade and commerce.
Nigeria is due to rebase its gross domestic product (GDP) figures next year. This could boost Nigeria’s GDP massively making it to be closer to South Africa’s.
According to Business Day (SA), if Nigeria’s growth rate remains at nearly 7 percent which is twice that of South Africa’s, the title of Africa’s heavyweight economy will go to Nigeria within a few years leaving South Africa which has enjoyed the status of being Africa’s economic powerhouse for many years as second.
Early last year, Pretoria was forced to admit that the relationship between the two countries had been going through a difficult time.
The statement also said after his visit to South Africa, Jonathan will pay a one-day state visit to neighbouring Namibia and meet President Hifikepunye Pohamba and that country’s business community.