The Consul General of Nigeria to South Africa, Abdulmalik Ahmed, has said that Nigeria’s yearly exports to South Africa exceeds $3.8 billion.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Ahmed explained that South Africa has remained Nigeria’s biggest partner in the Continent, over the years.
He also added that South Africa similarly exported $4.8 billion in 2018 to Nigeria.
He said, “South Africa is Nigeria’s biggest trading partner in Africa. Though dominated by oil, Nigeria’s export to South Africa is in excess of $3.8 billion annually.
“That represents about 6.3 per cent of the country’s total exports. Similarly, South Africa exported goods of about $4.9 billion in 2018 to Nigeria.”
Air Peace had on Thursday operated its inaugural flight from Lagos to South Africa.
“Speaking about the economic benefit of the flight, the Nigerian envoy noted that route launch will help improve foreign inflows and encourage investment.
He said, “Nigeria provides a favourable business environment and large market for a wide range of South Africa companies including MTN, Multichoice, Shoprite, Protea hotels and more.
The Lagos-Johannesburg route was serviced by Air Arik and South African Airways but unfortunately, both airlines could not sustain operations on the routes.
“It is against this background that Air Peace is entering the market”, he said.
Going further, he called upon Nigerians to establish more businesses in South Africa to quell xenophobic attacks.
He said, “I would like to take this opportunity to call upon Nigerian corporate entities to follow the lead of Air Peace and take advantage of the huge investment opportunities in South Africa.
“The death of Nigerian corporate entities here compared to many South Africa entities in Nigeria does not reflect the spirit of industry of our people.
“An increase in corporate presence could be a weapon in the fight against xenophobia. We at the consulate are ever ready to facilitate the processes of your arrival.”
Similarly, the Chief Operating Officer, Airports Company, South Africa, Fundi Sithe commended the airline for flying into their flagship airport, Oliver Tambo International Airport.
She noted that the number of passengers on the return trip showed that the route was much awaited.
She said, “Yesterday, we saw that the inaugural flight arrived at Oliver Tambo International Airport, December 17 on-time.
“It arrived with 85 passengers on board and departed later with an estimated 207 passengers. That is quite significant because the difference tells us that there is a level of demand that has not been serviced.”
The airport manager hoped for more frequencies and a direct route to Durban or Cape Town, soon.
Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs Toyin Olajide noted that the airline would be expecting three aircraft to boost domestic and regional operations.
She added that other international routes in the offing, such as Houston-USA, Mumbai-India, Guangzhou-China and London.
Customers who are looking to connect cities in Nigeria or other countries which the airline was operating in were advised to apply, as the airline pledged to carry passengers to their destination at a promo price of R6,175.