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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that improvement in relations between Nigeria and South Africa would hasten the process of development on the African continent.

Buhari expressed the view while speaking with the Chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) and South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, who visited him at the State House, Abuja on Friday as Special Envoy of his country.

President Buhari recalled his last trip to South Africa during which he and President Cyril Ramaphosa worked together in resolving the migrants’ crisis between the two brotherly nations.

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“There was this ‘small problem’ between our countries. I went there and we resolved it,”  the President was quoted as telling the envoy in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to Shehu, Buhari directed the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva to work with his South African counterpart on the requests he brought and report back to him for his action.

On his part, the South African minister, who presented a letter from President Ramaphosa, stated that the relationship between Nigeria and his country was key to the development aspirations of the continent.

While emphasising the need for the two nations to work as partners, Mantashe said “this relationship will determine the future of Africa.”