S Sudan Central Bank Governor Rallies East Africans to Invest in Juba

South Sudan Central Bank Governor Dr James Alic Garang. [Courtesy]

The South Sudanese Banking sector regulator has said the country’s economy is open for business and highlighted its potential for foreign investment, saying the East African region needs to pull down barriers to competition and trade to tackle regional challenges.

As South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, prepares for elections, regional investors have raised concerns about political instability and the future of its economy.

But newly appointed Bank of South Sudan Governor Dr James Alic Garang said on the sidelines of a key East Africa Community (EAC) meeting bringing together the bloc’s central bankers that the South Sudanese economy was on the move and democratic elections would ensure political stability for an ideal investment climate.

"Let me start with one area which is emerging in recent years, that is, investing in real estate. Maybe in years to come, South Sudan could be another Tokyo of Africa,” he said.

“Now, if you are to look for a property in Juba, it is very expensive. That means also if you are to invest today, tomorrow, the investor could reap huge dividends. So investing in real estate is one of those.”

Dr Garang implored East Africans to invest in South Sudan saying it “is very easy.” His said ongoing efforts by President Salva Kiir to modernise its economy provide immense opportunities for early growth for regional investors.

“All you have to do is just bring your resources, look for a few local partners, register a company, and boom, you are an incorporated institution. And then you invest in real estate.

So that's one area that's very clear,” he said.

“The banking sector remains the preserve, a lot of the preserve for most of the East African brothers. So banking remains an area where investment opportunities remain huge.

Services, especially medical services and education, are areas. And then of course I talked earlier about gold production. There were areas in the country that remained untapped.”

He said political stability had made the country an attractive prospect for investments.

“Some of the states are well known for having a gold reserve, although not many people have ventured into those previously because of the conflict that was preceding. But now that the conflict has come to an end and the country is moving toward democratic elections in 2024, exploration, particularly in gold, could be one of those areas where investors are being called to engage,” he said.

“What I can just say to the listeners is that South Sudan  is a country on the move toward a positive, we are moving toward a frontier, a positive frontier.”

The EAC member state country is this Friday hosting a special session of the EAC Monetary Affairs Committee (MAC) a key arm of the East African Community (EAC) bloc that determines the future’s economic roadmap.

The Monetary Affairs Committee for East Africa Community meets annually, usually around April or March, to take stock of the progress and challenges along the path of establishing a monetary union.

Dr Garang said the successful meeting had “disabused our visitors about what South Sudan is.”

“For those who have never come to South Sudan, this week they were able to see our hospitality and how improved the environment has been in terms of social outlook and political outlook, even security-wise. So that's that,” he said.

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