Fielding questions exclusively from ROTIMI ASHER, Motoring World’s Lagos Bureau Chief, during the one-week activities marking his country’s 29th independence celebration in Nigeria, South African Consul General in Nigeria, Bobby J. Moroe identified how to make Nigeria’s auto industry perform at its peak.
He also revealed what he has been doing to ensure more collaboration and partnership exist between the auto Assemblers and captains of industries in the two countries.
What is your assessment of the auto industry in Nigeria?
I think there is a need for more collaboration and partnership between South Africa and Nigeria to make the industry perform at its peak. There is a great opportunity for South African scientists to learn what could be applicable in Nigeria. They could bring their wealth of knowledge in creative design and assembling while Nigeria benefit from the expertise. We have quite a number of bilateral relations that could provide an opportunity and propel the industry to greater height
Interestingly, in the ongoing one-week celebration of your country’s independence in Nigeria, you have Nissan as one of your partners, why Nissan?
The story of Nissan is very compelling especially their partners in Nigeria. The new Nissan Navara pick-up with a hard body, engine and fuel capacity technologically conditioned to whether the storm here, originated from South Africa. The car was designed and built in South Africa and assembled here by Stallion NMN. These are some of the stories we want to tell. We would be telling the stories during business round-table and the opportunities existing between the two countries.
Is the partnership restricted to this event alone?
It is the beginning of a new relationship between South Africa Consulate and Nissan. We are not only partnering on this event, there are other things to engage in. We are looking at creating a platform in which Nissan and other auto companies can also benefit from this type of activities.
Why are you celebrating your 29th independence in Nigeria in such a grand style?
What most people do not know is that although, we are celebrating our 29 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria, the relations actually started way back.
So, as we celebrate 29 years of independence, we are also commemorating formal diplomatic relations between Nigeria and South Africa since the 21st of February, 1994. Reflecting back to where we are coming from, we thought what a better place to celebrate 29 years. More so, this is a precursor to 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which is going to be marked next year (2024).
Apart from the panel of discussion on how the creative industry can forge a one-Africa, do you have a program for captains of industry from the two countries in the course of the one week celebration?
Yes, on the 25th, we have business round table. We are bringing captains of industry from both South Africa and Nigeria to come and discuss common issues of interest in the business industry. We have quite a numbers of basic challenges and prospect among the two countries but there has never been a meeting of minds. We are creating a platform for them to start engaging themselves. We are hoping that on the sideline of the round table, we will establish what we call a financial sector mode of forum where we are going to have monthly reviews of issues that have been discussed.
Tell us about the issue of ten years visa for business people you mentioned earlier in your speech
We have been working on the issue of visa and made a significant in-road in the beginning of the year on the 9th of January. We announced the issuance of up to ten years visas to business people in Nigeria for the ease of business for them in South Africa. The essence is to facilitate trade between the two countries.
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