President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, have reviewed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between both nations. This came as Buhari described as successful the state visit by Ramaphosa despite the scare generated by the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Omicron has been classed as a “variant of concern”, with early evidence suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk. The heavily mutated variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month and then reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) last Wednesday.
Addressing a joint press conference at State House, Abuja, with the South African President, Buhari said: “Today has witnessed the signing of new Memoranda of Understanding between Nigeria and South Africa in diverse areas including youth development, women and child empowerment and political consultations; critical areas that will lead to increased people to people contact.”
He added: “Existing MoUs signed during previous Bi-National Commission meetings were also reviewed. These include MoUs on military cooperation, power, cooperation in the field of geology, mining, and mineral processing, oil and gas and several others.”
Buhari, who described the dialogue as another veritable tool for interaction among the youth, with the aim of creating shared values and aspirations, thanked his South African counterpart for the initiative, noting that continuous interaction between the youth of the two countries will further break barriers and suspicion among the citizens.
Ramaphosa said: “South Africa and Nigeria both have rich cultural, vibrant arts and flourishing sports sectors, all of which will be greatly enriched through greater collaboration through the programme of cooperation between the two countries. I also am pleased that additional MoUs on political consultation and on an early warning mechanism will be signed as soon as possible, as soon as all the legal processes have been concluded.”
He added: “We want to improve the balance of trade between our two countries. And we’re extremely encouraged by the interest expressed by a number of Nigerian businesses in accessing the South African market.”