Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's state visit to South Africa last week was much-heralded as mending relations between the two countries, as it happened to fall after the recent spate of xenophobic violence in Gauteng.
Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa signed more than 30 accords on Thursday, but the Nigerian leader wrapped up his visit by denouncing the xenophobic violence as an "embarrassment" for the continent.
Mills Soko, professor of International Business and Strategy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Business School says the two regional powerhouses have no choice but to work together considering both have under-performing economies.
This makes it important that they bolster, among other things, bilateral trade and investment relations.— Mills Soko, Professor of International Business and Strategy - Wits Business School
It's one thing to sign agreements; it's another thing to implement them. That places the focus on the role of the Bi-National Commission which was set up in 1999 to foster strategic cooperation between the two countries around diplomacy and economic relations.— Mills Soko, Professor of International Business and Strategy - Wits Business School
Professor Soko notes that the commission has under-performed and the fact that the two leaders have recognised that, is encouraging.
Now they have elevated from the level of deputy presidents to the level of presidents.— Mills Soko, Professor of International Business and Strategy - Wits Business School
This recognises there's a need to focus on the nuts and bolts of this relationship on an ongoing strategic high level, almost on a daily basis. This relationship is a very complicated relationship, a very volatile relationship. It needs constant focus at the highest level.— Mills Soko, Professor of International Business and Strategy - Wits Business School
He says one of the most important issues raised at the SA-Nigeria Business Forum was the need to address problems affecting the smooth movement of people between the two countries, especially regarding visas and work permits.
Listen to the conversation with Professor Soko below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Important that under-performing economies of SA and Nigeria 'bolster' each other