South Africa and Nigeria are both regarded as regional ‘giants’ having real or
perceived capacity to play strategic roles in Africa’s political-economic settings.
On one hand, South Africa’s dominance in Africa’s political-economic
transformation since 1994 is reflected mostly in its business expansion in Africa.
Nigeria, on the other hand, remains significant having only just been upstaged by
South Africa as Africa’s largest economy, and with the huge market its population
provides for investors. Notwithstanding intermittent diplomatic altercations
between both countries, there has been rising trade and investment relations
between the two regional powers especially since the post-apartheid era.
However, this is tilted in favour of South Africa because of its more capitalized
economy and significant strength in trade investment in Africa. This skewed
economic relationship between both regional powers has given South Africa a
major trade and investment advantage over Nigeria which also reflects in the
recurring political rivalry between both countries. The authors stress that South
Africa’s economic incursion and dominance in the continent furthers a growing
perception of its regional hegemonic and sub-imperial power aspirations which is
becoming more real than imagined.