South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H E Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on an Official Visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 17 May 2010

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, H.E Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, travelled to Nigeria last night to deliver a special message of extending the heartfelt condolences of H.E President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the government and the people of South Africa following the untimely death of the late President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to the new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and also to congratulate the latter on his recent  appointment.

The Minister will also take this opportunity to meet with her counterpart in Nigeria, H.E. Henry Odein Ajumogobia - who has just been appointed as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She will then raise some of the issues that include:

  • 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in South Africa and also congratulating the National Soccer Team of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Super Eagles) on qualifying for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The Minister will further indicate that South Africa is ready to receive the world on its shores for this soccer spectacle event.
  • Eight Session of the SA-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) which will be hosted by South Africa this year.
  • Status of the Review of the Immigration Policies. The Minister will inform the Minister of Foreign Affairs that South Africa has formed a Sub-Committee to deal with immigration and Consular issues between South comprised of officials from Home Affairs, International Relations, Police counterpart that the Department of Home Affairs has increased the capacity of processing visas in both Missions so that all soccer fans from Nigeria can travel to South Africa.
  • Multilateral issues such as the mainstreaming of NEAPD and AU Multilateral Partnership, and also congratulating Nigeria on its appointment to a three-year term of the AU Peace and Security Council.

The Minister will express to her counterpart South Africa’s commitment to continue working together with Nigeria and the Member States to bring about peace, security and stability on the continent during South Africa’s two year term as AU PSC member and beyond.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 351 1000 or email him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

17 May 2010



Nigeria is considered as one of South Africa's most important partners on the African continent in pursuing the vision of an Africa renewal, a vision shared by Nigeria.  Nigeria has consequently been identified as a pivotal state that could serve as a catalyst to pull various continental processes not only in the West African region but on the continent as a whole. With its large population and natural resources the country has become South Africa’s most important trading partner on the continent.

Closer contact and co-operation between South Africa and Nigeria within the framework of the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-national Commission in all those areas where both countries and ultimately the African continent stand to benefit are to be actively promoted and encouraged.

Prior to South Africa’s first democratic elections of 1994, Nigeria retained a major interest in South Africa through its support for the international campaign against apartheid. With the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria in 1994, residential High Commissions were established in Lagos and Pretoria.

Former President Mbeki undertook a State Visit to Nigeria(which was also the first State Visit ever to Nigeria by a South African Head of State) from 30 September to 4 October 2000.During this visit, President Mbeki attended Nigeria’s 40th Independence Anniversary Celebrations and delivered addresses to a South Africa-Nigerian Business Forum and to the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), had bilateral discussions with former President Obasanjo, former Vice-President Abubakar and former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar and received in audience the leadership of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party.    

President Jacob Zuma undertook official visits to Nigeria when he was Co-Chair of the BNC (in his capacity as Deputy President)

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua paid a State Visit to South Africa (also the first such visit to an African State by the new Administration) from 3 – 4 June 2008.

Trade Relations between South Africa and Nigeria

Nigeria presents huge opportunities for South Africa exports into the country. The trade relations between Nigeria and South Africa registered substantial growth over the period 1999 to 2007, from R181 3578 000 to almost R11 billion in 2007. This increase in growth can be attributed to an increase in the demand for energy resources in South Africa; hence 98% of imports from Nigeria is crude oil.

Prior to 1999, there were only four South African companies in Nigeria. Since 1999, the situation has changed dramatically, with over 100 companies currently doing business in Nigeria. Within years South African companies have become major players in almost all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The biggest investment by South African companies in Nigeria has been in the telecommunication sector. Other markets that South Africa is currently a player includes the banking sector, the property sector, the retail sector, the entertainment sector, and the fast food sector.

Some of the evidence of South African investments in Nigeria includes the case of Standard Bank South Africa, which recently took over IBTC bank. Also, South African corporates hold a 50% share of the fast food industry in Nigeria.

The South African companies are also involved in the media and entertainment sector, with DSTV being a major force in the television industry. Arivia.Com was provided with a contract by the Nigerian government to assist with running the country's lottery. MTN and Telkom also have considerable shares in the telecommunications industry.

Although South African businesses have penetrated the Nigerian sectors such as retail, banking and finance, mining and tourism, agriculture and construction and tourism, these industries still present a lot of opportunities for South Africa and competition in these markets is still limited. Furthermore, the privatisation of state assets such as coal, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, electricity, deregulation of the oil and gas industries, also presents fundamental investment opportunities.

Trade flows between South Africa and Nigeria are as follows:

Exports to Nigeria: (billion)

2006   3, 844,558,956
2007   4, 558, 767,685
2008   7,086,316,112

Imports from Nigeria: (billion)

2006   9,285, 922,352
2007   12, 480,199,295
2008   15,744,361,274

It can be seen from the above trade figures that South Africa is importing more than it is exporting to Nigeria in terms of the value of the products. This could be attributed to the dominant position that Nigeria occupies in terms of the production and exporting of crude oil.

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