South Sudan assures Ugandans on safety, promises to support investment opportunities.

The government of South Sudan has assured Ugandans on safety of people, goods and services. The assurances were made by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Kuol Athian at the opening of the three-day South Sudan- Uganda Business Forum at the Beijing Hotel in the capital Juba.

The event which kicked off yesterday was attended by over 400 business people from Uganda and South Sudan.

Other speakers included the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Onyoti Adigo, Juba City Mayor, Alijaabu Mohammed, the Director General of Immigration, Registry and Alien Control, Lt. Gen. Atem Marol Biar.

South Sudan and Uganda representatives are committed to providing an enabling good trade environment for their People and businesses to flourish.

During the discussions, Private and Public Sector stakeholders from South Sudan and Uganda engaged in open trade discussions, as well as engaged through B2B sessions to explore investment opportunities that will enable both Countries increase revenue and enhance the already vibrant trade relations between both countries. Uganda exports goods and services worth $400 million. Uganda was earning $1billion before the civil war in 2013. It is estimated that over 500,000 people are doing business in South Sudan.

Speaking during the opening event, Ambassador of Uganda to South Sudan, H.E Brig. Gen. Ronnie Balya said, “Now that peace has returned to South Sudan, I encourage people in Uganda to embrace this opportunity to expand trade and investment and focus more on joint venture business in the various areas; Industry, Agriculture, ICT services, Health, Education, Banking and Real Estate, Hospitality, Tourism, Infrastructure development among others.

The Uganda business community is led by the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU). Others are Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), Federation of Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (FSME), Uganda Shippers Council, Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), National Cultural Forum (NCF), KACITA, Uganda National Chamber of Commerce, Hortifresh, ICT Association, Uganda Health Federation (UHF), among others.

The PSFU Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stephen Asiimwe emphasized that PSFU, which represents 12 sectors of the economy, and has a membership of over 300 business associations; will collaborate with its counterparts in South Sudan to promote sustainable business relations. The PSFU is a major sponsor and promoter of the Business Summit.

“In the past, traders have had a series of challenges, some of which were resolved and others still pending. I want to assure our business people that both governments are working together to ensure that all these are handled,” Asiimwe said.

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory committee on exports & Industrial development, Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo said, “Uganda government is closely working with South Sudan to put in place favorable trade and investment policies with incentives that make it faster and easier to do business in both Countries.” His speech was read by Ms. Brenda Katarikawe Opus.

The South Sudan-Uganda Business Forum is a three-day private sector-driven event where more than 500 delegates are participating and over 30 businesses are exhibiting products from agriculture, and agribusiness products, services such as banking, telecommunications, cosmetics, arts and crafts among others. There will be information sharing, working sessions, and business-to-business interactions focusing on solutions to challenges faced when conducting business.

South Sudan is one of Uganda’s major trade partners in the East African Community (EAC). Exports from Uganda to South Sudan have increased at an annualized rate of 46%, from US$17.3 million in 2012 to US$ 357 million in 2020. South Sudan exports goods worth US$ 850 million and imports goods and services worth US$ 1.1 billion.

The top imports of South Sudan are Motor cars and other motor vehicles; principally designed for the transport of people (US$78.5M), Vehicles; for the transport of goods (US$52.3M), Food preparations not elsewhere specified or included (US$45.9M), Grain sorghum (US$38.7M), and Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form (US$35.9M), importing mostly from Uganda (US$357M), Kenya (US$216M), United Arab Emirates (US$192M), China (US$156M), and United States (US$38.9M).

The Joint Business Forum is coordinated by the Government of South Sudan and the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in South Sudan in partnership with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda. Other government participants and facilitators are Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB), Uganda Revenue Authority, Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Civil Aviation Authority, Uganda Airlines, Office of the President,

Key partners of the forum included; TradeMark East Africa, Centenary Group, Ecobank, MTN South Sudan, Mgurush.