“God has blessed us and endowed our country with vast resources in terms of fertile lands, forests, water resources, minerals and petroleum resources…Those who wait till long may miss the vast investment opportunities that our country offers,” an excerpt taken from the speech by South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, during the inaugural South Sudan International Investment Conference.
South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation, she gained her independence in July 2011, 6 years after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Sudan in 2005.
The newly found state of South Sudan just like many other countries emerging from years of political instability and civil war is engaging in massive infrastructure reconstruction and nation-building.
Many years of plunder and destruction have necessitated the demand for virtually everything from road network, social amenities to furniture. This has created a ripe environment for investment.
South Sudan has identified a number of sectors as crucial for its development and has been inviting investors to come and help develop the country.
These are South Sudan’s priority investment sectors real estate, energy, animals and fisheries, banking, education, health, ICT and telecommunications, agriculture, transport, and tourism.
The need to prioritize these sectors has also been necessitated by the fact that 98% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product has been coming from exporting oil.
The government is looking at ways of easing the fiscal pressure by diversifying the economy thus reducing overreliance on oil.
In order, to appeal and attract investors, South Sudan has established various bodies which help investors get to grips with the country’s investment policies and the environment more quickly such as the South Sudan Investment Authority while at the same time conducting regular trade fairs where the government meets with potential investors and discuss the systems and procedures to facilitate effective partnership and cooperation.
Also, South Sudan has formulated and put in place investor-friendly policies that will not only attract but retain the confidence and trust of all investors.
The South Sudan Investment Authority is tasked with overseeing that the prevailing environment in the country is conducive for investment, to provide comprehensive information on all the investment opportunities in the country, promote South Sudan as an ideal investment destination, assist investors when setting up their operations in the country and receiving and processing all investment certificates.
South Sudan’s investor-friendly policies
The policy of Non-discrimination- through this policy, all investors are allowed to invest in any sector that they are comfortable doing business in.
Guarantees against expropriation- this policy states the government’s position regarding nationalism. No enterprise (local or foreign) shall be nationalized, also, at no point whatsoever shall the South Sudan government cede all or a part of investment capital.
Intellectual Property Rights- the government of South Sudan shall protect the intellectual property rights of all investors and see to it that all patents, copyrights, and trademarks are enforced.
Access to public information- all investors shall have complete, direct and open access to any public information, adjudicative bodies’ decisions, court decisions, and all laws applicable in South Sudan.
Repatriation of capital, profits, and dividends- subject to lawful obligations and tax, all investors have the right to repatriate capital, profits or dividends freely in convertible currency or use their money in any way that they may deem fit.
Dispute Resolution- investors seeking legal recourse can do so either in any of the courts of South Sudan that have the jurisdiction to hear business disputes.
Any investor is also free to approach international dispute resolution bodies if they feel the matter has not been handled correctly or fairly or if they are in disagreement with the South Sudan Investment Authority.
South Sudan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.
South Sudan as from 2013 became a part of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act thus investors can export their products to the US market.
The country maintains cordial relations with the European Union and the rest of Africa thus there is no shortage of market for investors in South Sudan.