South African President H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa has kicked off a seven-day West Africa tour of Senegal, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to promote intra-continental trade and investment.

The President’s visit to Dakar, Senegal will focus on the facilitation of greater trade and investment between the two countries, with several South African companies already having expressed interest in Senegal’s infrastructure construction sector. The visit is also expected to result in a number of agreements being signed on elevating the joint commission for bilateral cooperation from the ministerial to the executive level, further consolidating ties between the two countries.

“We want deals signed. We want those countries investing in South Africa, so it is not a one way-process where South African countries invest in their countries,” President Ramaphosa stated, adding, “It is a mixed journey; political, diplomatic, economic, trade, and this is going to be beneficial to our country all around.”

During H.E. Ramaphosa’s trip to Côte d’Ivoire, where he will be hosted by H.E. President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, he will discuss the free flow of goods and services across the continent through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The trip will also focus on easing travel throughout the continent, with President Ramaphosa meeting Ghanaian President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to engage in high-level talks and develop strategic partnerships that may be translated into new opportunities for African businesses.

“We want to increase confidence in our companies operating in those countries. We have a number of companies operating in Nigeria and Ghana and we want to see more and more of that happening in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire,” stated President Ramaphosa. “In all these visits, we will be looking to build trade and investment relationships that benefit growth, development, and employment in each country.”

Accompanied by various ministers, the trip to Nigeria is expected to result in the conclusion of five new agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between the continent’s two largest economies, with several South African entities operating in the country currently facing operational and regulatory challenges.

Following the discovery of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the President stated that the trip would go ahead as planned, saying, “A number of those presidents called to find out if we are still coming. We rejected this notion that has been propagated by more developed countries, and some smaller countries, that the Omicron variant should lead to a blockage and ban of travel.”

The West Africa tour is focused on improving economic relations and the state of trade in the continent through the AfCFTA agreement, refocusing opportunities beyond markets in Europe, Asia, and North America.

In response to sub-Saharan Africa’s growing demand for new oil and natural gas, and renewable energy projects, and increasing interest by international stakeholders to invest, develop, and succeed on the continent, Energy Capital & Power will hold the MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 conference and exhibition during December 2021. Focused on enhancing regional partnerships, spurring investment and development in the oil, natural gas and power sectors, the conference will unite regional international stakeholders with African opportunities, serving as a growth-oriented platform for Africa’s energy sector.