How Nigeria and South Africa business relations will look after Zuma's visit


Investors that want to enter the Nigerian market should not be deterred by the dispute between MTN and the Nigerian Communications Commission, says Chairman of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.

This comes as South Africa’s President; Jacob Zuma visits Nigeria on an official two-day visit that some see as a gesture of good faith that could restore some of the tensions between the continent’s two largest economies.

The visit comes as several SA companies have left or stated their intentions of leaving the country including Woolworths, Clover and Truworths.


Watch: President Jacob Zuma on two-day state visit to Nigeria

“I think if anybody is panicking, I think they are panicking for the wrong reasons, you have got to look at the fundamentals – it is saying you need to obey the regulations of our country, conform to what is required and if you don’t do that – then there’ll be repercussions,” said Foluso Phillips, Chairman of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.

Phillips says this is because the West African country has a “tough” president now who is very strict so Nigeria will no longer be as lax as it was before.

“To be fair, one has got to ask that if you come to a country and you obey the rules and regulations and all that is necessary, everything should be alright.  You should worry, if you do obey the rules and regulations and do everything properly and you begin to get these types of aggressive behaviour.

“It is important to look at what you bring to the table, if you come into the country ask yourself and be sure that what I am bringing in ties in with what is important to Nigeria,” said Phillips.

These things mean dealing with infrastructure, power, and value addition to agribusiness and to stimulate retail – however the products must be local because Nigeria needs more manufacturing to be done in the country which Phillips reckons should happen because it doesn’t have a choice.

He adds: “If Nigeria had this kind of situation in South Africa, what would be the response? When you track the story of how all this happened, people tend to feel that maybe MTN was not really doing what it should do.”