The Consulate General of the Republic of South Africa in Lagos recently organized the South African-Nigerian Investment Roundtable to mark 29 years of democracy and bilateral relations between the two countries. The event brought together business communities from both South Africa and Nigeria to discuss the challenges and prospects in the business landscape between the two nations.
The roundtable addressed the bottlenecks around doing business in both countries and highlighted areas where opportunities abound. The participants engaged in robust, frank, and open discussions about the challenges they are facing in the process of doing business in both countries.
One of the major concerns highlighted was the withdrawal of South African companies, especially in the retail sector, due to unfavorable market conditions, inconsistent regulatory frameworks, inconsistent tax regimes, repatriation of funds, and delays in loan repayments. The participants agreed to reflect honestly on what needs to be done to ensure that business portfolios are opened and grown in both countries, especially for small, medium, and macro enterprises.
The panel session focused on opportunities for trade, industrial development, and investments between South Africa and Nigeria. Both sides considered the dollarization of trade and investment between the two countries. They also discussed the strategy for Nigeria to trade in Naira and trade with rands that open all gateways in terms of business opportunities.
Further deepening the utilization conversation, Sonny Iroche spoke on the impact it will have on both countries and Africa as a whole. Iroche emphasized the need for Nigeria and South Africa to collaborate and cooperate to move the continent forward. While 36 bilateral agreements have been signed, the implementation of those agreements is key to the emancipation and success of the African continent. The level of trade between the two countries is merely three billion dollars, while they trade heavily with other countries such as Britain and China.
This is the first-ever South Africa week celebration in Nigeria, and many participants believe that it is a great step towards deeply conversations around improving bilateral trade and investment between both countries. The roundtable ended on a positive note, with participants agreeing to work together to create an enabling environment on both sides that would facilitate the growth of business portfolios.
Most South Africans and Nigerians believe that the South African-Nigerian Investment Roundtable is a step in the right direction towards strengthening the relationship between both countries and improving business prospects.