South Sudan can unlock its economic potential with the help of investors

Dr James Alic Garang, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan and the Chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Affairs Committee. [Courtesy]

South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, possesses immense potential for diversification, economic growth, and shared prosperity.

While oil has been the mainstay of the economy since independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, the government's focus on augmenting broader local production, particularly in the agriculture sector, presents exciting opportunities for investors. The latter singular interest also stands to foster a more resilient future for South Sudan and the region.

What the world does not know is that South Sudan boasts a wealth of natural resources beyond oil. Fertile land, vast water reserves from the Nile, and abundant mineral deposits offer a diversified base for investment, to mention but a few.

The agricultural sector holds immense promise. With fertile plains and a long growing season, South Sudan has, indeed, the potential to still become a breadbasket for the region and beyond.

Investment in modern farming techniques, irrigation infrastructure, and storage facilities can unlock this potential, ensuring food security, not only for our people but also, as already stated, for the region and continent, while creating jobs for million people.

South Sudan cannot, however, achieve its growth potential in isolation. If anything, South Sudan needs to integrate with the global economy while strengthening collective action, especially the regional and international financial system. This conviction informed our decision to join the East African Community (EAC) in 2016 and the country is now realising some dividends.

While we have made considerable progress, I will admit that it has not been an easy journey. The fact, however, is that I can confidently say today that South Sudan is no longer a 'baby' but a fully matured adult, just like others in the region, and is contributing to collective action in many respects.

South Sudan is a country moving towards a positive frontier. To make this point clearer and as the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, I had the privilege of hosting the EAC Monetary Affairs Committee meetings from April 29-May 3, 2024.

Throughout the week-long meetings, the Bank of South Sudan had the opportunity to highlight to our EAC colleagues the immense potential that remains untapped in our country.

In a similar vein, I also noted that the banking sector remains a major reserve for investment from our regional brothers and sisters. Huge opportunities for varied investments exist in the banking sector.

Going forward, we promise to sustain a positive investment climate as we seek to attract both regional and global investors to South Sudan.

South Sudan stands at a crossroads. Yet, by harnessing its natural resources, fostering a stable environment, and investing in its people, the country can unlock its true growth potential.

From our experience, the journey will be exacting, but the rewards – a prosperous and diversified South Sudan – are well worth the efforts.

We expect investors to conduct their due diligence and manifest in long-term strategies. Collaboration with the government and local communities is essential to reap investment opportunities, and by extension, support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and South Sudan Development Plan.

Dr Alic is the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan and the Chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Affairs Committee.

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