Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


South Africa, Nigeria: African giants battle for econmic supremacy

13 March 2016, 18:07

Johannesburg - When South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visited Nigeria last week he was on a delicate mission to mend rifts between the continent's two economic powerhouses.

From economic rivalry to political friction, relations between South Africa and Nigeria have been strained in recent years.

The election of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari into office last May did not immediately ease the tension.

When Zuma visited Abuja last week, Buhari set aside diplomacy and accused one of South Africa's largest companies of failing the country in its fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

Telecoms giant MTN was fined $3.9 billion for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, a legal requirement aimed at hampering the militant Islamists.


Buhari said MTN was "very slow" in cutting off the lines and that the unregistered lines were used by "terrorists" and "contributed to the casualties".

The Nigerian government's concern "was basically on the security, not the fine imposed on the MTN", he said.

But MTN is not the only South African company riding rough waves in Nigeria.

Hotel and resort chain group Sun International is also a target of investigation by the country's economic financial crimes commission.

"We have an exemplary track record of operating in many countries over the past 30 years, but the difficulties we have experienced in Nigeria are unprecedented," Michael Farr, Sun International group's general manager for communications, told AFP.

"We'll continue to evaluate the situation and therefore our options."

Africa's largest satellite broadcaster, Johannesburg-headquartered Multichoice, last year came under pressure to reduce its tariffs following accusations by the Nigerian authorities that it was abusing its dominant position.

Some South African companies, such as the Truworths clothing retailer, have pulled out of the country altogether.

"We closed our four stores in Nigeria because we were unable to send stock to stores due to the regulations in Nigeria," Michael Mark, Truworths CEO told AFP.

'Targeted because of envy' 

Following the rebasing of its gross domestic product figures in April 2014, Nigeria became the continent's largest economy, overtaking South Africa.

While 120 South African companies operate in Nigeria, the west African nation is only Pretoria's seventh-biggest trading partner on the continent.

"Some South African business people and officials suspect that South African companies are being targeted because of envy from local competitors," said Peter Fabricius, an analyst with the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria.

But "many Nigerians believe (MTN) was grossly negligent about obeying the rules and arrogant," said Fabricius.

Muda Yussuf, the director general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that it "does not mean these companies are being targeted".

"It is just that companies operating anywhere have to comply with the laws governing business behaviours in their host countries. It does not matter if the companies are from South Africa or somewhere else.

"Laws are made to be obeyed. What happened to MTN can happen to any Nigerian company."

After signing more than 30 bilateral agreements on trade, energy, defence and security among others, Pretoria put a positive spin on the visit.

"The visit of Zuma... is a testimony that there is no undercurrent of 'cold war' between Nigeria and South Africa," said Sola Oni, investment analyst and former senior manager with the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

"Nigeria is such a strategic country that cannot be easily ignored by any country globally," said Oni.

But both countries are facing economic headwinds.

South Africa's growth is undermined by the slowdown in China and falling commodity prices, while Nigeria, the continent's top oil producer, is suffering from low oil prices.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...