South Sudan’s recent calm after years of conflict is luring investors from Egypt to come and invest in the world’s youngest nation.
Several Egyptian companies are taking part in the ongoing week-long trade exhibition in Juba which aims to boost growth of the private sector in South Sudan.
Mostafa Hammad, general export manager for Medical Union Pharmaceuticals, an Egyptian company exhibiting products at the trade exhibition, told Xinhua Wednesday that his company is attracted to expand its footprint in emerging markets in Africa like South Sudan, which he said offers vast market opportunities for their pharmaceutical products.
“South Sudan for us is not only a commercial market, it is one of the strategic markets for Egyptian pharmaceutical industry and as you know the relation between the president of Egypt and the president of South Sudan is very good,” said Hammad in Juba, capital of South Sudan.
Hammad said that his company is looking to expand its presence here.
“I first came here in 2018 but now I see the conditions are different even the security level, infrastructure and also the opening up policy taken by the South Sudan government is encouraging us to come and invest,” he said.
Hammad disclosed that prior to the signing of the 2018 revitalized peace deal, it was very risky to come to and invest in South Sudan but now this has changed with the relative calm due to the cessation of hostilities.
“Everything has settled down. You can move freely from your hotel room and come back late and no one can harm you,” he said.
Mahmoud Hifny Elbahtity, development manager of Commodity Inspection Services (CIS), said his company has already been registered in South Sudan. CIS branch in Egypt has since 2006 been inspecting and auditing imported goods en route to Juba.
ElBahtity said South Sudan is a young country with a lot of investment potential, stressing that the current relative peace is good for business. He disclosed that CIS has for long been inspecting on behalf of Egypt imported products like wheat coming from Russia, Romania, Ukraine and France.
“We will bring some experts from Egypt to train South Sudanese officials on inspection and verification of goods imported into their country,” he said.
Mohamed El-Agawany, general manager of Delta Import and Export Company that deals in electrical appliances made in Egypt, said they plan to establish a warehouse business at first and a factory later on to assemble finished products in South Sudan.
El-Agawany added that this is because of the high costs incurred in shipping goods from Egypt to the landlocked South Sudan.
South Sudan relies on Kenya’s Mombasa port to import most of its goods.
Mary Lino Wani, deputy chairperson for South Sudan Business Women Union, said the trade exhibition has offered South Sudanese to showcase their locally-made products like honey, perfumes, clothing and beads.
“We are all happy we want our government to support us more so that we are able to export and show the world what we have as South Sudanese,” said Wani, who noted that they are incurring high costs in importing some of their raw materials from neighboring Uganda and Kenya.
Florence Gordon Soro, manager for Handcrafts at South Sudan Women Entrepreneur Association, said that some of these products made in South Sudan are already being exported to China and Egypt.
Soro was among the few South Sudanese who participated in the 2018 China International Import Expo held in Shanghai.
“We exchange ideas and views with Egyptians, we are also training on how to make some of their products. Some of the raw materials we use are available in Egypt. They have clothes and threads and so we can get from them if there is cooperation,” said Soro. Enditem