- September 7, 2016
The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation and Africa’s 55th country on July 9, 2011, following a peaceful Referendum in January 2011. The Referendum was foreseen as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the then southern-based rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, after decades of conflict. South Sudan is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It is also part of the Eastern Africa UN sub region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, the Central African Republic to the west, and Sudan to the north.
Business Opportunities and Sectoral Analysis
South Sudan is a promising and bright market. A lot has been done since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. It is a virgin country and a lot of businesses are currently setting up in Juba city as well as other towns in the ten states such as Wau and Malakal. The economy of South Sudan has been largely rural-based and subsistent in nature. Subsistence agriculture provides a living for the absolute majority of the population. It is also based on the export of its natural resources. Oil is the main resource in South Sudan and oilfields in the southern part of the country drive its economy.
South Sudan is the most oil dependent country in the world, with oil exports accounting for almost the totality of exports, and for around 80% of gross domestic product (GDP), directly and indirectly. The country produces nearly three-fourth of the former Sudan’s total oil output of nearly a half million barrels per day. The Government of South Sudan derives nearly 98% of its budget revenues from oil.
South Sudan has great agricultural potential. Of its 82 million-hectare land surface, more than half is estimated to be suitable for agriculture. Some common agricultural products include pineapple, cotton, groundnuts, sorghum, millet, wheat, cotton, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pawpaw, sugarcane, cassava and sesame.
The majority of indigenous communities are pastoralists with an estimated eight million cattle. Additionally, there are millions of poultry, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, sheep and other animals.
Despite huge water bodies in South Sudan, commercial fishing remains largely unexploited. Fish species include Nile perch, tilapia, catfish, mudfish, lungfish, moon fish (opah) and electric fish.
Natural forests and woodlands cover 29 per cent of the total land area of South Sudan. Currently, commercial exploitation is limited only to teak, natural mahogany and gum Arabic.
There are 30 commercial investment and agricultural banks operating in South Sudan under regulation of the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS). Commercial banks include Ivory Bank (1993), Nile Commercial Bank (2005), Buffalo Commercial Bank (2007), Bank of Ethiopia (2009), KCB Bank Group (2005) and Equity Bank (2009).
Still a growing sector, microfinance and microcredit institutions include Sudan Microfinance Initiative, Bangladesh Rural Cooperation (BRAC), Savannah Farmers’ Cooperation (SFC) and Finance Sudan.
South Sudan appeals a large gathering of tourists from all over the world. The country has a number of notable and renowned tourist destinations, travel circuits, places of interest and tourist attractions appealing tourists from different parts of the world. There are about seven national parks and twelve game reserves in South Sudan.
Today, these parks are inhabited by large populations of kob, hartebeests, bongo and topis, giant and red river hogs, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, chimpanzees and forest monkeys, hippos, hyenas, gazelles, zebras, ostriches and lions.
The Government has stimulated growth of the hotel and hospitality industry to support the gradually maturing tourism sector in the country. There are several hotels now operating in the region in very close proximity with the tourist attraction sites. Government is also committed to conserving flora and fauna through appropriate policies and initiatives.
Conducive Investment Climate
The Government of South Sudan has taken particular steps to cultivate an environment conducive to investment. These embrace the establishment of institutions like the Ministry of Investment and South Sudan Investment Services as well as development of investment laws. The investment laws furnish attractive fiscal regimes, protection of industrial and intellectual property, credible guarantee of legal security, repatriation of profits and dividends, customs duties exemptions as well as reduced bureaucracy.
In February 2011, the Government also launched a Private Sector Development Programme covering investment climate reforms, small and medium enterprise development and access to finance. It has also established the South Sudan Business Forum (SSBF) to facilitate public-private sector dialogue. These steps are enduring good results. The Ministries of Investment as well as Commerce and Industry are working on further legislation, creating more institutions and streamlining business registration.
The government has also taken specific steps to promote investment in the country. Some of these include:
Establishment of Southern Sudan Investment Authority (SSIA);
Development of investments laws which spell out the investment guidelines in the country;
Equal treatment and opportunity for local and international investors; and
Enactment of specific laws that support investment by making provisions for attractive fiscal regimes, protection of industrial and intellectual property rights, credible guarantee of legal security and investment stability, repatriation of profits and dividends, custom duties exemptions, as well as reduced red tape and bureaucracy.
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