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Nigeria, South Africa Explore Ways to Foster More Beneficial Relationship

To maintain stronger ties and work collaboratively for a better Africa, Nigeria and South Africa are exploring ways to foster a more beneficial relationship.

Speaking virtually on the topic, ‘Strengthening South Africa and Nigeria relations: A cultural and people-to-people Co-operation: Building Bridges for Africa’s Progress’, during a visit to Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria by MTN-MIP 2 Fellows, Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Special Advisor to the Governor of Lagos State, explained that the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa diplomatically has been very strong.

However, despite this relationship, significant differences of opinion persist between the citizens of Nigeria and South Africa, often fueled by gross historical ignorance and stereotypes.

These misunderstandings impede progress and cooperation, hindering the overall objective of African economic and political integration.

Sanwo-Olu pointed out that there is need to show more light on the direction that Nigeria and South African can go to further ensure that a relationship that is mutually beneficial is fostered between the two great nation’s.

He said that the two countries can explore cultural diplomacy, explaining it as ways to ensure understanding and appreciation of both nations cultures, foods and other things such as arts, literature or music traditions, to show their connections.”

He said Nigeria and South Africa can engage in cultural diplomacy through Nollywood films by exchanging roles adding that cultivating cultural diplomacy between these two sister nations presents a golden opportunity to bridge the gaps in national identity, dispel misunderstandings and overcome implicit biases that often arise between Nigerians and South Africans.

“By fostering more profound understanding and empathy between their citizens, the Nigerian and South African governments can strengthen their partnership and contribute more effectively to the entire continent’s economic development.’

Sanwo-Olu stated that cultural exchanges programme and related activities can also help boost their relationship just as he applauded MTN Nigeria of its plan to take the MTN MIP-2 Fellow to South Africa as this kind of programme helps in strengthening the two nations relations.

“In the past, we have always looked at competition between South Africa and Nigeria arguing who is the big boy or who is most developed or who is the giant of Africa but none of this differences actually enhances our productivity. But, when we come together as one we can do so much more as a continent. It is not who wins in our two nations, it is that Africa wins when we come together and that the two power nations, Nigeria and South Africa combined, working together, harmoniously and progressively, will be better for Africa to rise.”

Sanwo-Olu said the world is waiting for this great continent (Africa) with human resources and full of potential to rise.

“Once there is Co-operation and collaboration of competition between our great nations, we shall see an emergence of a great Africa which is meant for the greater Nigeria, greater South Africa and Africa as a whole”, he reiterated.

On his own part, the South African Consul General, Prof. Bobby Moroe while speaking on the topic, ‘Nigeria and South Africa: An Indispensable Bilateral Relationships to foster Cultural relations through the media fraternity’, explained that the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa is an indispensable one stating that Nigeria was an integral part of the frontline of the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Moroe argued that though there is always diplomatic relations between the two countries but the relationship has to go beyond diplomatic smiling sessions.

He said Nigeria and South Africa, as the dominant economic powers in Africa, needs to play a significant role in the continent’s economic, political and cultural diplomatic realm in order to succeed in the fight to free African continent from the shackles of economic poverty, and the exploitation of the continent.

He added that collaboration between Nigeria and South Africa both culturally, politically and bilaterally is important to ensure that provision of the leadership necessary for the African continent to go forward.

Monroe also stated that the role of the media is very critical in pushing positive narratives between Nigeria and South Africa relations. He urged the Journalists of objective reportage of their stories and showcasing the positive things happening between the two nations.

Source: The Sun