Swazi Observer - - NEWS -

ABUJA - Nige­ria's Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari said on Wednes­day the coun­try will sign up soon to a $3 tril­lion (R40.70 tril­lion) African free-trade agree­ment. Nige­ria is one of Africa's two largest economies, the other be­ing South Africa. Buhari's govern­ment had re­fused to join a con­ti­nen­tal free-trade zone es­tab­lished in March, on the grounds that it wishes to de­fend its own busi­nesses and in­dus­try. The ad­min­is­tra­tion later said it wanted more time to con­sult busi­ness lead­ers. "In try­ing to guar­an­tee em­ploy­ment, goods and ser­vices in our coun­try, we have to be care­ful with agree­ments that will com­pete, maybe suc­cess­fully, against our up­com­ing in­dus­tries," Buhari told a news con­fer­ence dur­ing a visit by South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa. "I am a slow reader, maybe be­cause I was an ex­sol­dier. I didn't read it fast enough be­fore my of­fi­cials saw that it was all right for sig­na­ture. I kept it on my ta­ble. I will soon sign it." Ear­lier, Ramaphosa told a busi­ness con­fer­ence in Abuja that South Africa saw huge ben­e­fits from the con­ti­nen­tal free trade deal and that a draft agree­ment re­lat­ing to the move­ment of peo­ple was be­ing re­viewed. In his first visit to Nige­ria since be­com­ing South Africa's pres­i­dent in Fe­bru­ary, Ramaphosa said he was seek­ing greater col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. He con­demned xeno­pho­bic at­tacks on for­eign­ers in South Africa, in­clud­ing Nige­ri­ans, against a back­drop of eco­nomic hard­ship and soar­ing un­em­ploy­ment. Reuters


SMILES: South Africa's Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Nige­ria's Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari ges­ture at each other at the State House in Abuja, Nige­ria.

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