Bobby Moroe, South Africa’s Consul General in Lagos, says there are approximately 120 South African businesses in Nigeria, but in the past few years, there has been a slow withdrawal of some, especially in the retail sector.
Conversely, he said there are fewer than 10 registered Nigerian companies in South Africa, raising questions about why such was the case.
Mr Moroe spoke on Tuesday at the South Africa- Nigeria Trade and Investment Roundtable as part of activities to mark the inaugural South Africa Week.
The South African Consulate organised South Africa Week to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the country’s democracy and 29 years of formal diplomatic relations with Nigeria.
“Why are there fewer investments from Nigeria to South Africa, and yet, South Africa has so many investments in Nigeria, and what kind of opportunities do you think the South African government should create for Nigerian business in South Africa?” he said.
He noted that one of the reasons for this development could be because of visas, which was a topical issue in his day-to-day discussions.
Mr Moroe said that Nigerian businessmen and scholars could get up to a 10-year visa for their categories.
He further said this was a commitment of his government to Nigerian businesses to make sure that with ease, the movement of people from Nigeria to South Africa was facilitated, and vice versa.
“South Africa is open for business, investment and tourism,” he said.
Mr Moroe also said the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria would be revitalised when custodians of bilateral relations start telling “their own stories”.
The consul general said wrong stories had been told about his country and Nigeria because, for far too long, custodians had taken a backseat.
He said this created the gap that naysayers had utilised for the past 29 years to project both continental giants as competitors for the hegemony of the continent.
Mr Moroe said that both countries had no choice but to work together as brother and sister to ensure that the objectives set through the agenda 2063 would be achieved.
In his keynote address, Nyameko Goso, chief director, West Africa, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, said the importance of both countries’ relationship was rooted in the total support received from Nigeria in South Africa’s struggle for freedom.