Nigeria, South African Trade Hits N43.5bn

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Chairman of the Nigeria-South African Chamber of Commerce, Chief Oba Otudeko, says the value of trade between the two countries grew to 2.9 billion dollars (about N43.5 billion) in 2010.

Otudeko, who disclosed this at the Annual General Meeting of the Chamber on Wednesday in Lagos, said that the growth was significant when compared to 16.5 million (about N247 million) recorded in 1999. “Since the inauguration of the chamber 10 years ago, trade between the two countries has grown significantly.

“However, this is just a scratch from the surface of what could be achieved through healthy trade relations.

“Although there is a skewed trade balance in favour of Nigeria created by the amount of oil South Africa imports from Nigeria, there are so many untapped areas of business opportunities for both countries to explore,” he said.

Reports say that the highpoint of activities at the meeting was the election of Mr Foluso Phillips as the new Chairman of the chamber.

Phillips promised to ensure that the chamber would take the bilateral trade between the two countries more seriously.

He urged Nigerian investors to be more aggressive and tap into the business opportunities in South Africa. “We might have a positive trade flow with South Africa, but there is still an imbalance. A lot of the trade is tied to oil and there is the need to explore other areas,” he said.

He said there was a higher representation of South African companies in Nigeria, but the reverse was the case of Nigerians in South Africa.