Analysts have continued to weigh the economic impact of xenophobic attacks in South Africa on the continent, just as 187 Nigerians returned home from the country due to the development.
The Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigerian (MAN), Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said that such attacks could have negative impact on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, to which South Africa was a signatory.
Ajayi-Kadir said with the attacks, the country (South-Africa) might be portraying itself as one that was not worthy of Foreign Direct Investment.
He said that Nigeria was considered as a frontline country in the struggle against the apartheid regime and the emancipation of South-African, even though it was not a contiguous state.
“So, it is mind boggling that Nigeria finds itself on the receiving side of hate mongers in the otherwise great country of illustrious sons and daughters of Africa.
“Without doubt, South Africa is amongst the first three economies in Africa. It has no less than 23 per cent of intra-African trade. Its companies all around African enjoy the welcome and acceptance of Governments and the people.
“Therefore, with the onset of AfCFTA agreement, (to which South-Africa is a signatory) this signal from South Africa portends a dangerous trend.
“The country (South-Africa) may be portraying itself as one that is not worthy of Foreign Direct Investment,” he said.
According to him, free movement of persons and right to invest and enjoy protection of life and property are basic ingredients of a free trade area.
“So long as the foreign nationals live in obedience with the laws of the host country, these right should be guaranteed,” he said.
Also speaking on the economic effects of the crisis, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, said with the developments in South-Africa, investors’ confidence had been adversely affected.
Yusuf said the attacks and agitations on both sides could also adversely impact on the sustainability of existing investments, employment and revenue.
He regretted the retaliatory attacks in Nigeria, which he said could lead to an increase in unemployment in the country.
“Nigerians and Nigeria have significant stakes in most of the South-African investments in Nigeria. These are with regards to employment, tax revenue, service provision, equity investments, suppliers and service providers, among others.
“Nigeria and South Africa are the two leading economies in the continent accounting for an estimated 33 per cent of the continent’s GDP. With the recent development the risk perception of the continent has been negatively impacted,” Yusuf said.
In his view, the Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr Sunny Nwosu, said that the situation calls for tougher diplomatic actions on the government of South-Africa.
Nwosu said that South-Africa Government should compensate those affected and take steps to reassure them that it will not occur again.
“Stronger diplomacy and engagements seem to be more appropriate forms of response.
The first batch of Nigerians who decided to leave South Africa due to the attacks had arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday, at 9.37 p.m.
They were aided by the Federal Government with the assistance of a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace.
The returnees included adults, children and infants, who expressed joy on returning home.
Edited by Oluwole Sogunle