Nigeria, South Africa leaders to meet weeks after xenophobic attacks

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari./ Getty

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in South Africa later this week for talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, weeks after xenophobic violence strained ties between their two nations.

Nigeria recalled its high commissioner in South Africa after the spate of violence against foreigners which left at least 12 people dead.

The West African state, while condemning the violence, retaliated by evacuating some of its citizens from South Africa.

A statement from the South African presidency announced that President Buhari is scheduled to meet Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Thursday, and will coincide with the 20th anniversary of a Bi-National Commission (BNC), established in 1999 as a structured bilateral mechanism to provide for political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.

“South Africa and Nigeria share sound political, economic and social relations that were formally established in 1994, immediately after South Africa’s first democratic elections,” the statement read.

Nigeria is South Africa’s biggest trade partner in the continent, with flows estimated at $4.5 billion last year compared with $2.9 billion a decade ago, according to Bloomberg.

“The State Visit will not only provide an opportunity for the two Presidents to strengthen and deepen political, economic, social and cultural relations between the two countries, but will also create space for deliberations on issues of mutual interest and concern pertaining to the continent and global governance,” the South African presidency added.

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