Buhari heads to SA for state visit

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will on Wednesday depart for South Africa on a three day state visit, his office has announced.

The visit follows an invitation by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa after relations between Africa’s two biggest economies soured after a wave of xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg and other cities last month.

The two leaders are expected to discuss “the welfare of Nigerians and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts”, a statement by President Buhari’s aide said.

Nigerian government believes the businesses of its citizens were targeted in the attacks and President Buhari sent an envoy to South Africa to “express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens”.

Mr Buhari will be keen to show Nigerians that he is doing everything he can to protect their interests.

Anger at the perceived targeting of Nigerians during last month’s attacks, led to the looting of South African businesses in the West African country. Hundreds of Nigerian citizens have since left South Africa.

During his visit, Mr Buhari will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians still living there.

The President and his delegation, including Nigerian business representatives, will also attend a business forum and preside over the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission; an initiative created in 1999 to enhance relations between the two countries.

Growth in Africa’s two biggest economies has slowed in recent years.

The two leaders will want to put the issue of xenophobia to rest, in order to pursue the economic collaboration they both desperately need.

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