, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Africa’s newest nation South Sudan is aggressively trying to attract international investors to develop its infrastructure by hosting conferences worldwide in an attempt to encourage investment in the country.
Regional Manager of Capacity Africa Institute Karegwa Muchiri said South Sudan has adopted business friendly procedures and systems within its ministries and commissions to attract investors.
“The government is providing incentives in regard to regulations. For example, you need 12 licences to run a restaurant in this country unlike South Sudan where all you need is a registrar of the company and you’re good to go,” he said.
Capacity Africa Institute is organising the “Kenya in South Sudan Trade Fair” from March 1 to 4 in South Sudan’s capital city Juba, where over 1,000 business experts, investors, donors, NGOs and government officials will converge to showcase their products and services to both local and international markets.
Muchiri dispelled the rumour that the country is hostile towards Kenyan businesses and said there is an urgent need of developing its road networks, housing, health sectors, banking, civil services, insurance, and education system.
“For every five people I speak to, two want to do business in South Sudan but they say they think the environment is hostile and unstable. So this trade fair will prove that idea is false and let Kenyans see that there are rewarding returns for their investments,” he said.
Kenya brokered the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end 22 years of conflict between North and South Sudan in 2005 and they were among the first countries to set up companies in South Sudan, where many of these operations play a major role providing vital goods, services and employment to the South Sudanese.
Muchiri said there are only three major manufacturing companies that produce beer, soda, and water causing South Sudanese people to rely on highly priced exports.
“Soda in Kenya is Sh25 but in South Sudan it’s Sh200 so you can see how high the cost of living is because everything there is imported,” he said.
A Sudan trade fair conference has already been held in Washington, DC by the United States government in December and there will others held in Europe, Dubai and Juba later this year.
The price of registration for the three day fair is Sh45,000 for prospective investors who want to participate in workshops run by the South Sudan Chamber of Commercial Industry.
Companies can rent out 5×5 square feet of exhibition space for Sh45,000 and 8×10 square feet for Sh100,000 by registering on www.kenyatradefair.com.