South Sudan Targets Investors With New Land Laws

By Ann Brown Published: December 8, 2013, 9:00 pm

We’re ready for business, declared South Sudan President Salva Kiir  in a speech to kick off an international investment conference in Juba, reports Voice of America.

“God has blessed us and endowed our young country with vast resources in terms of fertile lands, forests, water resources, minerals and petroleum resources… Those who wait too long may miss the vast investment opportunities that our country offers,” he told the conference. The conference has more than 800. delegates from some 50 countries to Juba.

U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth urged the government to pass legislation that enhances protection for foreign and domestic investors.

“A formally adopted land act would allow investors access to land and secure land tenure, and I think that’s what I have heard from many investors is absolutely crucial,” Booth said.

“A framework for public-private partnerships would also allow the government and investors to maximize returns on private money and leverage economic growth,” the U.S. official added.

Booth also reminded investors that South Sudan this year became eligible for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which lets African countries export goods to U.S. markets

Currently, the South Sudanese National Assembly aims to draft laws on land rights, microfinance, and trademarks, which would create a more attractive investment environment.

However, the head of the United Nations mission in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, said passing laws was not enough to draw investors to South Sudan. He added that officials must enforce the laws.

“Rules need to be abided with, also in practice,” Johnson said, urging the government to make “sure that the justice sector works.”

South Sudan wants to attract investors to six key areas: agriculture, health, infrastructure, mining, petroleum, and tourism.  This will boost the country’s  economy, create jobs, and eradicate poverty.

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