Nigeria and South Africa are suffering from the effects of not having coherent foreign policies

(1) As the Air Peace plane touches down in Lagos with the first batch of Nigerian returnees from South Africa, I just shake my head in despair. We have set an ugly precedent here and given the green light to xenophobes all over our continent that they can engage in ethnic cleansing and achieve their objectives. Staying on to fight was the right thing to do here in my opinion

(2) I would have thought that Nigeria would have learnt from her blunder in the 1980s when she expelled West African migrants and the development led to a collapse in the provision of numerous services. History has shown that scape-goating so-called outsiders is something that always comes back to haunt you. We should have been making that point forcefully to South Africa

(3) If South Africa loses all her African immigrants, she is going to suffer something like a 10% fall on her annual gross domestic product (GDP) as they are the ones who provide retail services in the townships. Who will run their corner shops and provide services like barbers, tailors, mechanics, hair salons, automobile spare parts, run chemists, etc? As we speak, it is the Somalians, Nigerians, Kenyans and Congolese who provide all these services

(4) Since this crisis broke, I have been studying the figures of African migrants in South Africa and here is what they look like: Zimbabwe (649,385), Mozambique (381,386), Lesotho (312,537), Namibia (174,043), United Kingdom (123,764), Portugal (44,925), India (39,907), China (38,684), Netherlands (33,217), Somali (30,847) and Nigeria (27,326). Is it not ironic that no Briton, Dutch, Indian, Portuguese or Chinese citizens have been attacked. I swear, we Africans are really dumb!

(5) As you can see from the above chart, the largest community of migrants come from South Africa’s neighbours like Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique where political instability has forced thousands to flee

(6) If South Africa had a more robust foreign policy that was centred on intervening wherever there was a crisis in the southern Africa region, she would not have had that many war refugees. In Zimbabwe in particular, South Africa is guilty of abdicating its responsibilities when Robert Mugabe took it upon himself to impoverish the country. Criminal negligence if you ask me

(7) As per Lesotho and Swaziland, why they are still independent nations is beyond me. These were black homelands created by apartheid and later given nation state status to frustrate the liberation struggle. It is a big insult to us Africans that such vestiges of apartheid are still standing today

(8) If you ask me, Botswana and Namibia too should be part of this giant and economic colossus that includes South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Just north of them, Zimbabwe used to be called Southern Rhodesia and Zambia was Northern Rhodesia. We are long overdue a uniting of the Rhodesia’s as happened in Germany in the early 1990s. There are simply too many nation states in Africa, which is a recipe for poverty as many of them are simply not sustainable

(9) Like South Africa, Nigeria has a woeful foreign policy and is suffering from the effects of it today. For instance, most of the weapons being used by Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, armed bandits, kidnappers, etc came from Libya. If Nigeria had an aggressive foreign policy, we would have secured all the armouries in Libya when Gadaffi’s regime fell. AK47s first arrived in Nigeria when the government of Siad Barre fell in Somalia in the early 1990s. By now, we should have a dedicated African Brigade of troops who can be despatched anywhere on the continent at short notice to secure armouries and prevent weapons flooding into Nigeria

(10) As you can see, Africa has no continental roadmap. Our nation states, borders, trading relationships, etc are very much as the colonialists left them. Only Nigeria and South Africa can address this as our other continental giant Egypt is only really interested in Arab matters. Maybe as a starter, Nigeria and South Africa should come up with a common foreign policy