South Sudan asks investors to take up agric, power and oil

Thursday March 22 2012

By Machel Amos

Monitor coorrespondent

Major international companies are in South Sudan for a three-day submit aimed a showcasing the new country’s investment potentials.
At the conference, which started on Tuesday and will continue until Friday, investors received presentations from different ministers across the government.

A round table discussion followed, where investors shared their aspirations and foreseen challenges with the government. South Sudan lined up agriculture, electricity and oil as its major investment sectors.

“We need green revolution. We need individuals to provide some tools – to create more food to be available in the market to enable the lay man to get food,” said Simon Nyang Anei, the Undersecretary in the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment. “We need power because electricity is very weak here in the country,” he added.

Oil by trucks
And in the oil sector, South Sudan is looking forward to an investor to take part in exporting her crude oil by trucks from the oil fields to Djibuoti port via Ethiopia, as it builds an alternative pipeline to Lamu Port.

“Even the oil, when it was there in Sudan, they were transporting the oil by trucks until the pipeline was in place,” Mr Nyang said. Nyang said arrangements have been made with the Ethiopian and Djibuoti government to transport the crude by road.

The deal will be finalised next week when delegations from Ethiopia and Djibuoti arrive in Juba for further discussions. “When we reach agreement, we will start immediately,” Nyang said.

Deputy Finance minister, Mary Jervase, attracting investors into the three main fields is aimed at diversifying the fledgling economy that heavily relies on oil revenues.

About 300 companies are for the conference, promising to invest in the virgin sectors. Although insecurity has been a sticking point of concern, the government said it is disarming armed civilians so as to bring insecurity caused by cattle rustlers under control.

Meanwhile, South Sudan has received a pledge of assistance from the European Union. “EU earmarked 285 million Euros for development projects in South Sudan, which will be prioritized to areas of food security, education and healthcare,” the official government website reported Wednesday.

The pledge, just nearly a week after the World Bank granted $9 million in aid, comes at a critical time when the government is in a balancing act to compensate for the lost oil revenues following the shutdown of oil production in protest against theft and confiscation by Sudan.