President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in South Africa on Wednesday for a state visit after an outburst of xenophobic violence
in and around Johannesburg stirred tensions between Africa’s leading economic powerhouses.
Buhari and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa will meet Thursday to discuss bolstering trade ties and political
cooperation as both struggle to kickstart their stuttering economies.
But the recent violence in South Africa targeting foreigners — including Nigerians — threatens to dominate the talks.
Buhari was met by South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor after his arrival at the Waterkloof military base, near
the South African capital Pretoria.
The three-day state visit, the first by a Nigerian leader since 2013, was planned before mobs descended on foreign-owned
properties in and around Johannesburg in early September.
The violence — in which at least 12 people were killed — sparked fury in Nigeria and saw hundreds of migrant workers
repatriated to the country.
Some South African businesses in Nigeria were forced to close shop temporarily after they were targeted by revenge
The two governments dispatched special envoys to each other’s capitals as Pretoria offered “sincere apologies” in a bid to
calm the anger.