PRETORIA– South African businesses have been urged to invest in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zone when a delegation of business people led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) visited the Lekki Free Trade Zone, a privately-owned free trade zone outside Lagos as part of site visits last week.

The delegation was on an Outward Trade and Investment Mission (OSIM) to Ghana and Nigeria aimed at increasing trade and investment between South Africa and the two West African nations. The trade mission was in Nigeria from Thursday to Sunday.

South Africa’s Foreign Economic Representative (FER) in Nigeria, Calvin Phume, said it was important to expose the South African business delegation to the Free Trade Zone in order to showcase the vast opportunities available across the Nigerian economic sectors.

He told the delegation members that opportunities abounded in Nigeria. South Africa has taken a conscious decision to partner with Nigeria during their development phases and that Nigeria, like most countries in Africa, presents a wealth of business opportunities for South African companies, a dti statement here quoted Phume as saying.

He added that the visit was an opportunity to continue pursuing economic collaboration and partnerships with Nigeria.

Speaking during Friday’s site visit, the General Marketing Manager of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Oyewole Adegoke, said there are efforts to market Nigeria by focusing on key economic sectors as identified by the government.

“Our aim is to market Nigeria’s economic potential to investors across the world, as a private organization working closely with the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) and its stakeholders,” added Adegoke.

He said it would be of benefit for South Africa and Nigeria to have South African companies operating from the free trade zone as preferential policies and incentives granted to investors are aimed at easing doing business in Nigeria.