SA, Nigeria celebrate 10th anniversary of BNC

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and his Nigerian counterpart, Vice President Dr Goodluck Jonathan, are to host a series of activities this week to mark the 10th anniversary of the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC).

Activities will be held in both South Africa's and Nigeria's capital cities and include a Business Round Table, academic and sporting activities, a trade fair, a fashion week, civil society seminars, joint parliamentary activities and a women and youth forum.

The celebrations, aimed at highlighting the objectives of BNC, will take place in South Africa from Monday to Thursday and in Nigeria from 12 to 14 November.

The activities will be held ahead of the third session of the Review Council meeting, scheduled for 14 to 15 November in Abuja.

According to the Presidency, the planned BNC activities are premised within the broader framework of promoting trade and investment in the African continent as well as enhancing people to people cooperation and institution building.

The BNC was borne out of a commitment by South Africa and Nigeria to effectively structure bilateral relations through the establishment of a Bi-National Commission between South Africa and Nigeria.

The first BNC was held in Abuja in October 1999 under the co-chairmanship of the Former Deputy and Vice Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, respectively.

The two countries have registered substantial trade, exports and imports growth over the period 1999 to 2007, from R181 3578 000 to almost R11 billion in 2007.

"This increase in growth can be attributed to an increase in the demand for energy resources in South Africa; hence 98 percent of imports from Nigeria are crude oil.

Prior to 1999 there were only four South African companies in Nigeria but the situation has changed to over 100 companies currently doing business in Nigeria.