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South African President Jacob Zuma arrives for the inauguration of the new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

How South Africa and Nigeria Can Repair Their Troubled Ties

Friday, July 10, 2015

The relationship between South Africa and Nigeria, generally troubled since the end of apartheid in 1994, deteriorated markedly in recent years during the respective presidencies of Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan. This crisis in relations is not in the interests of either country or the wider continent, which needs its two hegemons to work in collaboration to address Africa’s myriad problems. Both sides seem locked into antagonistic postures from which there appears to be no easy exit. But there is a way out.

Ties already in a freefall under Zuma and Jonathan reached their nadir in May, when Nigeria temporarily recalled its most senior diplomat from Pretoria in protest at the latest wave of xenophobic attacks on African nationals, including Nigerians, in South Africa. Though Abuja did not sever diplomatic relations, the move did send an unmistakable signal of disapproval, triggering an indignant South African response. ...

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