Nigeria and South Africa are the continents two biggest hope. As the two largest economies, our nations should be working collaboratively to solve problems that threaten our progress as a continent such as climate change, institutional inefficiencies, and insecurity.
Rather, in 2019, we’re witnessing yet another series of xenophobic attacks on enterprising Nigerians.
Humans have always migrated in search of greener pastures. In our case, Nigerians have been warm and welcoming hosts to South Africans coming to work in leadership roles in hospitality, or loyal patronizers of South African corporations in search of a piece of Africa’s biggest pie. In fact, many South African owned businesses receive upwards of 60% of their global revenue from the Nigerian consumer market. This contributes in no small way to their global reputation as a leading business hub.
The xenophobic actions being perpetrated towards Nigerians should not only result in protests and strong statements from both Federal Governments but should also result in a re-evaluation of our economic contributions to the development of a country in which our lives are consistently at risk in. The federal government should remind South Africa that without our massive consumer market, many of the companies which contribute to their GDP would not be as financially successful as they are.
The federal government should provide planes for any Nigerian in South Africa that wants to come home.
Borrowing from the examples of Malaysia, India, China, and Turkey the federal government should offer economic incentives for the repatriation of her citizens.
This is a tragedy. It is also a chance for the federal government to bolster local enterprise by investing in indigenous alternatives that can compete with South African brands on quality and service.