- President Cyril Ramaphosa embarked on a four-nation tour of West Africa on Tuesday.
- He is expected to visit Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.
- Ramaphosa says he wants deals to be signed to promote intra-African trade.
"We want to sign deals."
This is what President Cyril Ramaphosa expects from his seven-day West Africa tour, beginning in Nigeria on Tuesday.
The president landed in Abuja on Tuesday evening to a warm reception.
Accompanied by various ministers, Ramaphosa said he wanted to see the opening up of trade and investment on the continent.
"We want those countries investing in South Africa so it is not a one-way process where South African companies invest in their countries," the president added as he departed Johannesburg.
On this trip, he will visit Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.
"It is a mixed journey; political, diplomatic, economic, trade and this is going to be beneficial to our country all around," Ramaphosa said.
At the same time, his ministers are expected to conclude five new agreements and memoranda of understanding with the Nigerian government.
"We want to increase confidence in our own companies operating in those countries. We have a number of companies operating in Nigeria and Ghana and we want to see more and more of that happening in Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire," Ramaphosa said.
In Cote d'Ívoire, he will be hosted by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara for a state visit and will further address the Africa Investment Forum.
Ramaphosa added he wanted to breed life into the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement that allows for free flow of goods and services across the continent.
He added travel too could be eased on the continent.
Ramaphosa will then travel to Accra, Ghana, where he will meet President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and participate in a number of high-level talks.
The trip will be concluded in Dakar, Senegal, where he will take part in the Dakar Peace and Security Forum and other high-level meetings.
"We are going on this epic journey to the heart of the continent."
Ramaphosa said prior to his departure to West Africa, many African leaders called him to ask if the trip was still on given the number of travel bans imposed amid the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
"A number of those presidents called to find out if we are still coming and we said yes we are coming. We rejected this notion that has been propagated by more developed countries and some smaller countries that the Omicron variant should lead to a blockage and ban of travel. We rejected that," he added.