Fathallah Fawzi, Vice Chairperson of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA), has said that South Sudan represents a promising investment market for Egyptians.
Fawzi also said that strengthening economic relations between Egypt and South Sudan will take place through an increase in the volume of trade exchange. The two countries should also focus on establishing joint investments.
He added that whilst still emerging, South Sudan may have need of Egyptian expertise in many sectors, such as health, housing, and education.
For his part, Ahmed Mounir Ezz El-Din, Chairperson of the EBA’s China Committee, said that one of South Sudan’s most important investment areas is agriculture. This is particularly in: cotton; textiles; fish farming; livestock; medicine; medical supplies; leather; milk; and vegetable and fruit packaging.
Other areas, such as manufacturing sugar and oxygen cylinders, as well as hotels and tourism, are also important investment sectors in the country.
Ezz El-Din added that South Sudan has a brilliant geographical location in terms of civil aviation, and is surrounded by seven countries/markets whose populations exceed 300 million people.
He said that economic zones could be established in South Sudan, especially as it is considered a significant source of trade in Africa’s eastern, southern and central regions.
Meanwhile, EBA Chairperson Ali Essa believes that there are still some obstacles that prevent a significant increase in Egyptian investments in South Sudan. This is primarily due to internal conflict and problems in the country that prevent a favourable and promising investment climate for investment.
He said that Investment desires stability, which accounts for the state undertaking several initiatives to solve its investment problems and political tension. There is still time, however, to provide a reassuring investment climate for interested investors from Egypt and other countries.
Abraham Maliet Mamer, Secretary General of the South Sudan Investment Authority, has previously said that the South Sudanese community in Cairo is the second largest foreign community in the city. There are currently about 50,000 to 60,000 South Sudanese citizens residing in the Egyptian capital.
Mamer said that South Sudan is an emerging country that needs development in all sectors. It views Egypt as a priority partner, due to the latter’s support, and the distinguished relations between the two countries.
He emphasised that South Sudan’s population currently stands at 12 million, making the country a promising market with available land and incentive laws. The country’s political leadership has signalled to Egyptian investors that they will be given preferential treatment.
Mamer also said that the market operates on a supply and demand system, and that there are no restrictions on investment. Companies wishing to invest are registered within one week through a one-stop-shop system, where the investor is given an investment certificate specifying the licences they need.
He added that one of the most important incentives granted to foreign investors by South Sudanese law is the complete exemption from customs for agricultural sector raw materials.
Investors also have the possibility of bringing in a maximum of 15% in specialised labour or experts. The country also provides a gradual tax exemption of up to five years, provided that local job opportunities are created.