By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday arrived Pretoria, South Africa, for a state visit and 9th meeting of the Bi-National Commission.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, who confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Thursday morning, said the 9th meeting of the commission would for the first time witness participation of the two Heads of State after an elevation.
The Bi-National Commission meeting was elevated to the level of Presidents’ participation, following the strategic position of the two economies in Africa and the need for stronger relations.
Shehu disclosed that Buhari and his host, President Cyril Ramophosa, would co-chair the meeting on Thursday.
The President’s plane arrived in the South African Air force Base, Waterkloof, at 9.10 p. m, and he was received by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor and Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu.
Before the meeting which would be held at the Union Building, both Presidents would discuss issues of mutual interests relating to the welfare of citizens, and expanding economic and cultural ties.
Shehu said the visit would enable more harmonious relations between the two largest economies in Africa, and open up more frontiers of opportunities for prosperity by encouraging more exchange and investments, especially for Nigerians.
The presidential aide said 32 agreements and Memoranda Of Understanding (MoU) had been signed at the Bi-National Commission, which would be mutually beneficial to both nations.
He added that the meeting would provide an opportunity to review progress.
“President Buhari is on a state visit to South Africa. While in South Africa, the two leaders will review a number of issues in our Bi-National Commission, including issues that affect citizens,’’ he said.
Buhari would also hold an interactive meeting with Nigerians in South Africa before returning to Abuja. (NAN)