With the recent violent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, and the retaliation against South African businesses in Nigeria, we stand at a perilous crossroad that could have lasting and damaging impacts on relations between the two African powerhouses.
Nigerians are now responding by targeting South African business in Nigeria; subsequently the South African government had to close its embassy in Nigeria due to fear of reprisal attacks.
Nigeria has also pulled out of the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) which is slated to take place in Cape Town, South Africa.
Nigerians are hustlers. Nigerians are entrepreneurs. Nigerians are resourceful and industrious. You can find Nigerians all across Africa and the world engaging in business, trade and academia.
They often get a bad rap and are judged unfairly, but the reality is that Nigerians do far more good than harm everywhere they go.
Xenophobic violence directed at Nigerians living and working in SA is unacceptable and has caused serious disruptions to the daily activities of many and has had tragic consequences including the loss of innocent human lives and destruction of property.
South Africa has been a haven for Nigerians seeking business opportunities and a better life. Nigerians provide a lot of economic stimulation in the communities that they live and work in, and this benefits the host country primarily.
They purchase and consume goods in their host country and open businesses, employ locals and buy properties to live and raise families – these are crucial components to the local economy, especially in South Africa.
For a Nigerian business investor/owner now in South Africa, it must be a very scary time, potentially all the money, time and investment could be lost in flames – literally.
Here at Obodo Naija, we are advocates for real estate investing and entrepreneurship – home or abroad, and we understand that there are inherent risks involved, but these turn of events are unprecedented and uncalled for. We hope that things will calm down and the violence ceased.
Either way, it will likely take a long time for things to normalize where Nigerians will feel safe to open their wallets to invest in businesses and real estate in South Africa – maybe we should refocus and start more companies back home.