Nigeria and South Africa have agreed to exempt holders of diplomatic and official passports of the two countries from procuring visas before traveling from one of the countries to the other.
The agreement that gave legal backing to the decision was one of the nine Memoranda of Understanding and agreements signed on Tuesday by the two countries during the ongoing official visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to South Africa.
While briefing journalists after a closed-door session at the Presidential Office in Cape Town, Jonathan and his host, President Jacob Zuma, expressed the conviction that the agreements reached during the visit would lead to stronger cooperation between the two countries.
This, they said, was necessary for economic, social and political development on the continent.
Other aspects of the MoU signed during the visit included those of cooperation in legal field, oil and gas sectors, power sector development, environment, defence cooperation, women development and empowerment as well as child development.
Others are those that concern geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy as well as Information and Communication Technology.
Jonathan and Zuma announced that respective ministers would ensure the effective implementation of the instruments and the conclusion of outstanding agreements.
Zuma expressed delight at the number of South African companies operating in Nigeria, saying such companies were up to over 100 with the biggest investment being in telecommunications.
He promised that other sectors, such as engineering, construction, banking, oil and the media would soon be expanded.
Zuma noted the need for both countries to promote people to people relationship especially through tourism, which he said had generated huge Foreign Direct Investment for the country.
“Last year alone, South Africa received a total of 73,282 Nigerian tourists, which is a 13.8percent increase from 2011 contributing about 720million Rands to the South African economy within the period,” he said.
Jonathan on his part, described the signing of nine bilateral agreements between the two countries as a major achievement that would enhance the critical role of Nigeria and South Africa in transforming the continent.