BuaNews (Tshwane, South Africa): “Companies Must Get Into Southern Sudan Early – Sisulu”
As South Sudan’s independence date draws nearer many South African companies see opportunity where others see hardship. The South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, is encouraging South African businesses to “take advantages of opportunities in Southern Sudan as soon as possible.” A new market that was once significantly stifled by sanctions and debt is suddenly emerging and has plenty of room to grow. South African officials have identified “agriculture, minerals and energy, infrastructure development, information technology and telecoms, water purification and supply, as well as forestry and banking” as “key opportunities.” Sisulu sees the reconstruction of South Sudan not only as a humanitarian responsibility but also as economic opportunity for South African businesses.
Many have already begun to take the unique opportunity. For instance, SABMiller (a South African brewery) completed its construction of a $30 million plant and began production in the budding country over a year ago. The South Sudanese can now enjoy their first locally produced beer, White Bull Lager. South African owned and operated, Kwezi V3 Engineers, have also joined the movement, sending consultants to South Sudan to assist in the restoration of public buildings. The South African based, but pan African mobile phone service provider, MTN, has recently begun investment in the information technology infrastructure of South Sudan. While all of these investments certainly aid in the development of South Sudan’s economy, the companies involved are counting on profitability as well.
The integration of South Sudan into the African economy is one piece of a larger effort to promote regional integration across Africa, a “key focus” of the South African Government. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, is pushing this agenda in order to fully capitalize on Africa as the “next economic success story.” Africa’s richness of resources, free market reforms, growing stability and a rising middle class certainly indicates economic development and profitability for many involved. Davis explains that individually, African countries have relatively small economies compared to giants such as China, India or the United States, but together they make up a sizable portion of the global economy. A free trade agreement, proposed by South African officials, would include between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for East African States (Comesa) “with a combined GDP of $624 billion and a population of 700 million people.” South African businesses certainly stand to benefit from this agreement but the hope is that this agreement will attract more investment, trade, and resulting growth for the continent as a whole.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION A short article from United Press International on Russia’s investment in South Sudan: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2011/02/21/Sudan-talks-energy-ties-with-Russia/UPI-21921298294777/
A long video on South Sudan’s path after independence from Al Jazeera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJY3hGoemQ0
An article from East African Business Week on trading in South Sudan: http://www.busiweek.com/11/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=438:traders-look-to-return-to-south-sudan&catid=104:uganda&Itemid=1314 A
n article from the Daily Nation on South Sudan’s ‘outstanding issues’ after the vote for independence: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/Resolve+outstanding+issues+Sudan+leaders+told+/-/1066/1111020/-/eldhljz/-/
An article from AFP on trade between North and South Sudan: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5grtYBev-tq3emudwRHbfWwOtlkrw?docId=CNG.5e9f1171bcbe4343da2b80daa83f3e61.4c1
1. Do you think a free trade agreement between 26 African countries is a good idea? What complications might arise? What benefits would be realized?
2. Do you think one day we could see an EU style economic integration in Africa? How do you think this would affect the world economy? How would it affect stability in Africa?
3. What industries do you think will be profitable in the early years of South Sudan? What kind of businesses should the country work to attract?
4. Do you think South Sudan will develop more quickly without the north? Or do you think the South will be economically disadvantaged from the spilt?