Abuja — South Africa and Nigeria are determined to create a conducive environment for businesses to operate in both countries, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The President was speaking at a meet and greet session at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja where he met business leaders ahead of a Nigeria - South Africa Business Forum and his bilateral trade talks with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
President Ramaphosa told South African businesses operating in Nigeria this morning, that he had met with his Nigerian counterpart Buhari, and both parties have committed to creating a "conducive environment" for businesses to operate and thrive in their respective countries.
"Nigeria is a very important economy and market from our country's perspective and I guess from your own business perspective as well. That is why so many South African businesses have planted their business operations in Nigeria," the President said.
He told business leaders that it was important to showcase the presence and operations of South African businesses in countries that people travel to.
President Ramaphosa acknowledged that there were a number of challenges that saw a number of companies exit for one reason or another. This was something he would like to shed light on so that the issues can be fully understood.
"It so happens that in my discussions with President Buhari, both last night over dinner and this morning, this matter has been raised and will be raised again.
"We have both agreed as two countries that we are going to improve and create a conducive environment for our businesses to operate, for both Nigerian businesses to operate in South Africa and South African businesses to operate in Nigeria within an environment that will enable businesses to thrive and grow, that is an objective we have in mind," the President said.
President Ramaphosa said they both understood that there is a maze of challenges and difficulties. He said Nigeria was an important market.
"It is a far too an important a market, the largest economy on our continent, and we are also a big economy on the African market," he said.
The President said his delegation of ministers have been hard at work the past few days in discussing matters that will continue to be discussed going forward.
Even during a difficult time for South Africa, President Ramaphosa says Nigeria has remained supportive and demonstrated a positive approach towards the country.
"Nigeria's disposition towards us is very positive even during trying periods like now with the Omicron variant where everybody is banning us. They called and asked if we are still coming, this demonstrates their positive approach to us. They have supported us during these travel bans we are subjected to," he said.