Nigeria, S/Africa Set Up Investment C’ttee

Nigeria and South Africa yesterday inaugurated a 10-man Joint Presidential Advisory Council on Investment (JPACI)in its second review council meeting of the Nigeria -South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC).

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JPACI was established in June 2008 to strengthen the bilateral economic relations of JPACI under the BNC.

The body, which has five representatives from each country is to advise the two presidents on business cooperation and investment promotion.

The Nigerian representatives are Mr. Jim Ovia, MD, Zenith Bank, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Femi Otedola, Zenon Oil, Alhaji M.A Gambo, former MD, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Alhaji Sani Nuhu, former Comptroller-General of Customs.

From the South African, Mr. Cheryl Carolous, Petonia Group, Ms. Wendy Nqenga, Aphrodeitis Mining, Mr. Phutuma Nleko, MTN, Mr. Simphiwe Tshabalala, Standard Bank and Mr. Jerry Vilakazi, Business Unity, South Africa (BUSA).

The members will meet to pick their leader (s).

The body was inaugurated by the Vice Presiden,t Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Deputy President of South Africa , Ms. Baleka Mbete.

In his remark, Dr. Jonathan said the notable individuals from both countries have been chosen for the very important task.

While noting that they will bring their experience to bear, Dr. Jonathan said “In this time of global economic recession” the group will work hard to bring the two countries into the path of economic recovery and development.

He also tasked the body to inject a new life in the flow of goods and services between the two countries.

The vice president also said that the 10th anniversary of the BNC in October this year will afford the two countries the opportunity to comprehensively review the achievements, as well as challenges, with a view to identify measures to be taken in further strengthening and deepening the work of the BNC.

Dr. Jonathan said that a joint committee has been drawn-up for the marking of the 10th anniversary of BNC.

In her remark, Mbete said though the meeting is coming up at a time when economies of the developed countries are experiencing a meltdown, with the accompanied adverse effects on the economies of the developing world, Nigeria-South Africa are challenged to deploy necessary measures to ensure that the crisis does not affect the foundations of democracy nor deter the effort to defeat poverty and reversing underdevelopment.

She noted that BNC would have failed in its duties if it does not reflect on matters that would enable its activities deliver the people from the shackles of poverty.

The South African Deputy President also said that Nigeria- South Africa should continue to encourage intra-African trade as mandated by the imperatives of the New Partnership for Africa ‘s Development (NEPAD) so as to develop and boost the economies of the continent.

As a building block, the enhancement of bilateral trade between the two countries would consolidate this goal.

She added that BNC is ten-years old this year as a testimony to the commitment of the leadership of both countries to strengthen the bilateral relations on all fronts- from business and trade to science and technology, education and culture.