Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands as they meet after a welcoming ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG – South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, have agreed to promote greater investment from Nigerian companies in South Africa. 

"We noted with appreciation the increasing presence of South African companies in Nigeria, and agreed on the need to promote greater investment by Nigerian companies in South Africa," said Ramaphosa on Thursday.   

He was speaking in Tshwane after the elevated session of the bi-national commission (BNC) between South Africa and Nigeria. Ramaphosa described the session as a platform to re-energise and deepen political, trade, investment and people-to-people relations between the countries. 

Nigeria accounts for 64 percent of South Africa’s total trade with the West African Region and is one of the country's largest continental trading partners. 

"As part of our efforts to increase economic cooperation, a Nigeria South Africa Business Forum is meeting today comprising business delegations from both countries. We will urge our business people to take advantage of the great opportunities in our respective countries for trade, investment and collaboration. 

"As governments, we have committed ourselves to creating an enabling environment for doing business in our respective countries. We have identified key sectors for investment to boost economic growth and development. 

"These sectors include roads and rail infrastructure, mining, manufacturing and agro-processing," said Ramaphosa.  

He said that throughout their discussions, both men also had an opportunity to reflect on the "public violence" that took place in South Africa a few weeks ago. 

"As the government of South Africa, we have expressed our deep regret at the attacks directed at foreign nationals and our condemnation of all forms of intolerance and acts of violence. 

"We are committed to addressing the genuine concerns of our people around poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs and migration," said Ramaphosa.  

He said that the countries were equally committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that those involved in criminal activities, regardless of their nationality, were prosecuted. 

African News Agency (ANA)