The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Thami Mseleku, has called for stronger collaboration between his country and Nigeria for effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The envoy said the collaboration would help to facilitate the acceleration of developing on the continent.
Mseleku made the call in Abuja at the grand finale of a stage play titled “Philomena’’ produced by Monalisa Chinda, Bimbo Mannuel, Zack Ineydo and Rekiya Ibrahim-Atta to advocate the course of girl child in Africa.
He said that Nigeria and South Africa, the two leading African economies, had deeper collaboration but if the relations could be made stronger it would enhance the implementation of AfCFTA.
“At the moment the main issue for us in Africa is to make the Africa Free Trade agreement work in practice, not just on paper, and for that to happen, the leading economies of Africa should actually collaborate.
“They are trying. They’ve collaborated when it came to negotiations about the agreement itself, when it came to aspects of that agreement like standards and so on, they are working together, but we want to see that trickle down to real business.
“In other words, we want to see and there has been talk already between the two countries about where we could actually strengthen each other in order to actually make it an inclusive kind of agreement.
“For example, in South Africa we have a very strong and established car manufacturing industry; in Nigeria we have the potential of reviving the textile industry, the clothing industry, or the fabric industry,” he said.
According to him, those cars need that textile industry, those cars need that fabric. So, we could actually be collaborating to say how do we ensure that the completeness of the car is actually a collaboration?
“The completeness of the BMW, which is produced in South Africa, the Toyota, which is produced in the South Africa but the local cars that are here, they actually benefit from the engineering that we’ve actually established.
“And, through these German and other countries, establishments of their manufacturing hubs in South Africa. So it’s those kinds of things that we are actually looking at.
“But let me emphasize the most important thing in this is people to people relationships. If we make sure that our people actually interact independent of government, but also directed by our governments, then we will go far.
“Because in that way then they’ll actually begin to understand one another to cross pollinate to learn from one another, and to live as Africans to realize that we’re actually Africans,” he said.
Speaking on the play, the envoy commended the producers for putting it together to pass a message to the entire world about a girl child, adding that film industry was also a tool to enhance diplomatic ties between the two countries.
”First of all, I think the script itself is dealing with very serious issues and issues of our society and that particularly I like the fact that it’s focusing on women. And the men are hitch.
“Our women are actually finding themselves in difficult situations as a result of what I would call gender based violence, that it to say the kind of manner in which we treat our women and young girls.
“I mean Philomena at 16 found herself in a situation in which she found herself and it actually shaped her life. That to me is a very important issue, that it was raising of course brought to life by a very vibrant and experienced cast.
“So, it was really a beautiful script in the hands of very beautiful craftsman artists that were able to present the script. So, I really enjoyed it,” he said.
The Executive Producer of the play, Monalisa Chinda said the focus of the play was mainly advocacy for girl child, stressing that there was the need the for her to have the needed support that will make her achieve her goal dream.
Chinda called for support from individuals and organisations to help the girl child achieve her dream, stressing that government could not do it alone.
She urged the parents not to abandoned their responsibility of parenting
“There are a lot of messages in this particular Philomena. We are also talking about the very sensitive area which is parenting. You can’t live parenting for government. Parents are not doing their jobs.
”Why would a girl get pregnant at the age of 16? Where were you? What were you doing? There’s no excuse. That is what is obtainable now
“Even though some cultures permits marriage at the age of 13 or 16, but this is one is different. It was just out of not being supervised and all of that and she fell into the wrong hands. So, basically it’s just an advocacy. it’s an act of evangelism.
“So, we’re begging all individuals, to be more serious even though government wants to help you, how are you presenting yourself? You will be addressed the way you dressed .
”There is need to inculcate discipline in everything that we do, in our workspaces in our lives, in everything you’ve given in dealing with other human beings.
”It’s important we deal with this issue so, Philomena has come to stay. We’re going to do a series on it.