Covid-19 travel bans will cause long-term damage to national economies across Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on his visit to Nigeria on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa met Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday as part of a multi-nation visit. There, he signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding to advance trade and investment, development, economic upliftment, and youth empowerment, among others.
According to the presidency, the two countries signed about 32 agreements — with three more added after this week’s engagements. These are an MOU in the field of youth development, an agreement on audiovisual co-operation, and a programme of co-operation on arts and culture.
The president used the opportunity to again call on those countries who had imposed travel bans on SA — and other African states — to reverse their decisions.
“Indeed, the leaders of Ivory Coast, where we will be travelling to later today, as well as of Ghana and Senegal, have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the travel ban against SA and our sister countries in Southern Africa.
“This is a global pandemic, and overcoming it requires that we collaborate and work together as a collective. The resulting damage from this ban to national economies on the continent will be considerable and long-lasting,” he said.
He said SA and Nigeria both had rich cultural, vibrant arts and flourishing sports sectors, all of which will be greatly enriched through greater collaboration through the programme of co-operation.
“The agreement on audiovisual co-operation will be a boost to the film production industries in our respective countries, and we as SA stand to benefit greatly from co-operation with the world-famous Nollywood.
“This council will promote economic relations between our two countries, and serve as a platform on which obstacles to doing business can be overcome. The Trade, Finance and Industry Working Group of the BNC has recommended we look into these constraints facing businesses in both countries,” he added.
Ramaphosa said the countries would work towards regularising dialogue so that it becomes an integral part of the BNC (binational commission) programme in future engagements.
“As SA we will be looking at how we can establish a youth exchange and leadership development programme, rallying around the legacy of President Nelson Mandela, who was a champion for youth development. It will include important components such as civics education, value systems inculcation, social cohesion and promoting a culture of service,” he said.
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