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South Sudan beckons investors

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 4 – The re-building the economy and infrastructure of Southern Sudan after the referendum, is presenting local investors with an ideal hunting ground for diversifying their markets.

The referendum slated for January 9 could lead to the formation of an autonomous state, with both local and global investors keen on tapping into its wealth.

Speaking to Capital Business, Rich Management Chief Executive Officer Aly-Khan Satchu said with an infant economy seeking to improve its business climate and diversify economy, it presents un-bound opportunities for both macro and micro investors.

"Southern Sudan has enormous potential and the economy that is now there is probably one out of a hundred of what it could be, so you are looking at a basement entry point in Southern Sudan," Mr Satchu said.

Sunday\’s referendum is part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended two decades of violence between Sudan\’s north and oil-rich south.

Held back by years of tensions and insecurity, Southern Sudan is seeking investors to develop infrastructure capacity to grow its economy.

"The country needs everything from basic businesses from food to transport. Investors should bear in mind that there is a lot of margin in Sudanese business because people are nervous of going there. It is just a matter of working out what they need and applying yourself to it," Mr Satchu said.

Southern Sudan currently imports most of its products from neighbouring countries. Outside its main towns such as Juba and Rumbek the region lacks electricity to power industrial development.

Several Kenyan businesses have already set up shop in Southern Sudan. From banks to airlines many investors have been positioning themselves to take advantage of an un-tapped region.

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Mr Satchu said that with Kenyan investors having taken an early risk to set up businesses in the region, they are bound to reap massive returns should all go well at the polls.

"Southern Sudanese people value loyalty and they stand by their friends. I think that for those businesses that got in there early they are going to reap a very big reward because they are going to remember those who were with them even in the hard times," he said.

He said that a peaceful vote will provide and an unprecedented boom in the country\’s economy.

"They have got so many resources and the world has come to a point of view that it doesn\’t matter where the resources are they are coming to get them," he said.

Following the referendum, Southern Sudan has indicated its willingness to join the East African Community as a trading block.

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