South Sudan on Friday opened an investment conference, the first dedicated to post-war funding as the country emerges from five years of brutal civil conflict.
The conference, dubbed “Doing Business in South Sudan,” aims to connect international corporations, individuals and private equity to South Sudan’s investment opportunities, said event organiser, Akol Nyok.
The day-long conference would enable government officials, local and international investors to take part in presentations, networking sessions and panel discussions.
“There is the need for transfer of information between people doing business in South Sudan and people externally,’’ Nyok said.
He added that the event could serve as a medium to provide people with practical information on doing business in the country.
“We believe that the private sector is the key to growth, and we think that as young people, we should play a role on how we can create jobs, how we can bring investment and how we can increase opportunities in this country,’’ he said.
According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for around 60 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
However, after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production fell from 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2011 to less than 130,000 bpd in 2014 amid soaring inflation and economic crunch.
Outside the oil sector, the country has high potential in agriculture, which largely remains unexploited as only four per cent of South Sudan land is under cultivation, according to a report by KPMG in 2017.
South Sudan is also home to more than 30 million livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep.
Nyok said in spite obstacles hindering investment in South Sudan, the September 2018 peace agreement provides opportunities for business to pick up in the conflict-torn country if it can hold.
“Five years from now, I see a network of South Sudan entrepreneurs, international entrepreneurs spanning continents and I see a network that provides investment opportunities in South Sudan,’’ he said.