- President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa needs to open its borders for the free movement of Africans to do business
- The president said the easy movement of people across borders should never be seen as a negative
- Ramaphosa also threw his weight behind growing calls for a single African currency
President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa needs to open its borders to allow for the free movement of people – specifically Africans – to allow them to do business.
Ramaphosa said the easy movement of people across borders and countries should never be seen as a negative by South Africans. He said allowing free movement would promote business between South Africa and the rest of the continent.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda. At least 53 African heads of state attended the summit.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Ramaphosa was in discussions with Rwandan president Paul Kagame to find ways to end the visa debacle which has existed between the two countries since 2014 and thereby improving trade relations.
Relations between South Africa and Rwanda have been strained since 2010, and in 2014 diplomats from both countries were expelled after a Rwandan diplomat was murdered in South Africa. This led to the closing of South Africa’s visa office in Kigali.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa signed the Kigali Declaration, which signalled South Africa’s commitment to moving towards a free trade agreement encompassing the entire continent.
Ramaphosa, however, stopped short of signing the actual African Continental Free Trade Area agreement and the Protocol on the Free Movement of People. This is due in part to outstanding legal issues and constitutional processes which need to be followed.
Africa’s other powerhouse economy, Nigeria, did not sign the agreement for similar reasons.
The president said the agreement would allow companies from across Africa to come to South Africa and do business here and vice versa. Ramaphosa said South Africans should not be afraid that other Africans would take their jobs.
Ramaphosa also joined calls for a single African currency to be created. He said such a currency would help with infrastructure development across the continent and free Africa from its colonial mentality of relying on foreign investment.
"Africa is developing in a wonderful way, further on this economic journey, and we will be beginning to interface with the notion and the idea of a single currency. Some even suggested a digital currency, and it is possible that a digital currency will even precede a real single because it is easier done than having a proper full currency," he said.
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