- President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal is aimed at unlocking investment opportunities.
- The visit comes on the back of the Intra-African Trade Fair held this month in Durban.
- A number of local companies already have a footprint in the countries that are part of the itinerary.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will next week undertake a visit to four west African nations, including Nigeria - a market where a number of South African companies have a presence.
The tour to Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal is meant to promote intra-continental trade and investment, as part of efforts to drive sustainable economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, has been described by companies as a complex and difficult market, with a number of South African entities operating in that country having faced various operational and regulatory challenges.
In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said South Africa had "strategic partnerships" with the four west African countries and the visits would further enhance trade and investment relationships and "translate into new opportunities for South African businesses."
"In all these visits, we will be looking to build trade and investment relationships that benefit growth, development and employment in each country."
The state visit to Nigeria will coincide with the 10th Session of our Bi-National Commission.
MTN and MultiChoice are some of the top local companies with a strong footprint in Nigeria, but the market has proved to be challenging to penetrate. This year, Shoprite, the continent's largest grocery retailer, announced that it would be exiting the country after operating there for 15 years. Woolworths left Nigeria in 2013, while Mr Price threw in the towel in 2020.
The likes of MTN and MultiChoice have faced enormous fines by the Nigerian authorities, including difficulties in repatriating cash, due to the country's persistent foreign current shortages.
Ramaphosa's visit follows the hosting of the Intra-African Trade Fair in Durban earlier this month, which saw the renewal of the call for greater trade as envisioned under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ramaphosa noted that African countries had too long trained their focus on trade and investment opportunities in markets beyond the continent such as Europe, Asia and North America, and the AfCFTA holds the key to improved economic relations.