South Sudan woos Batswana entrepreneurs
Batswana entrepreneurs have been encouraged to consider South Sudan as their investment destination.
South Sudan’s minister of commerce, industry and investment, Garang Diing Akuong, made the appeal during Botswana-South Sudan business seminar in Gaborone on June 24.
Currently, he said, South Sudan’s economy was dependent on revenues from oil, but the country had potential in other productive sectors. And, he said South Sudan government had made it a priority to focus on the development of non-oil sectors to achieve long term sustainable growth.
He told local business people that as the world’s youngest nation, abundance of resources and entrepreneurial opportunities were immeasurable providing opportunities for them to exploit and create wealth and jobs.
Diing Akuong said every business sector in South Sudan’s economy was starting to emerge thus creating an incredible opportunity for business people to invest.
With an estimation of over 13 million heads of cattle and abundant fertile soil, Diing Akuong said agriculture and agri-business were among the lucrative investment sectors that could be harnessed into profitable businesses. “Abundant land, water and massive unmet local and regional demand creates opportunities in all areas of agriculture, forestry and fisheries”, he said.
This combination, according to the minister, created commercial opportunities in a wide range of crops including but not limited to cereals, oilseeds, sugar, horticulture and floriculture, coffee, tea and other specialty crops such as gum.
Diing Akuong said other sectors, which could be exploited included mining, energy and electricity as well as petroleum and gas industries. According to him, most of South Sudan’s mineral wealth was not yet tapped. “Currently, it is believed that less than 50 per cent of suspected oil reserves in South Sudan are yet to be exploited”, he said.
He said there were also other minerals deposits such as gold, iron, copper, zinc, limestone and marble. “I encourage those who have a proven track record in the mining industry to come and invest in South Sudan”, he said.
On other issues, he said there were special incentives that come with investing in his country but were only available in strategic or transformational sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. “These special incentives are only available on special applications by investors in areas designated as strategic or transformational,” he emphasised.
He said foreign investors could own and operate businesses in any sector of the economy in South Sudan, except sectors identified as areas where national investors hold priority such as postal services, cooperatives services, car hire and taxi operations.
For her part, Botswana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, assured her counterpart that a strong partnership between the Botswana private sector and South Sudan government would culminate in immense benefit for the two countries.
“I am aware that it is also in your best interest to see business relationships growing between South Sudan and Botswana and I am confident that after this session, we will see those business partnerships being established by some of the companies”, she said.