South Sudan urged to move away from mono-product economy
The new nation in Africa, Republic of Southn Sudan urgently needs a diversification strategy to move away from a mono–product economy, said Ian Bannon, Acting Country Director for World Bank in Sudan during a Press briefing on Monday.
He stated that the World Bank board of executives on June 14 had recommended a $75 million trust fund to provide healthcare, infrastructure and employment to the Republic of South Sudan.
He said that the Southern Sudan needs to explore opportunities especially in agriculture, which is bigger and more sustainable asset than oil, on which South Sudan currently depends for 98 percent of its revenue. ‘Fixing agriculture’, he said ‘offers the best chance for creating jobs, improving incomes and reversing food insecurity’ for a country with millions still dependent on food aid and in dire need of improvements in income in order to curb its 46 percent poverty rate.
He said setting up the right institutions, adopting the right and sound policies, and ensuring effective and efficient public investment in the sectors that matter to the poor will help lift the maximum number of its citizens out of poverty and commence the country’s journey to socio-economic transformation.
He said that the new nation should move with high sense of urgency, recognising that the poor and hungry cannot wait for generations for solutions of their most urgent problems. Nation-building takes time, but South Sudan can accelerate this process by taking advantage of lessons derived from success stories of others, he said. He said that the world bank is seeking to provide early assistance to South Sudan given the urgency of challenges faced by the nascent state as if emerges from over two decades of civil war and embarks on the long journey towards independence.
The $75 million will be provided from IBRD funds and will be made available to Southern Sudan in the first few months after independence. South Sudan has applied for membership of the World Bank Group, which is working closely with International Monetary Fund, or IMF, to ensure the joining process can be completed as quickly as possible. Once the new nations attains membership, it will likely to become eligible for IDA resources.
He said that the new nation is facing daunting challenges, including the lack of basic capacity to handle core function of the state, while there is no silver bullet for building a newly independent nation, Juba needs to give priority attention to at least thee years .
In a statement distributed by the Southern Sudan government on the independence day said that the government took specific steps to nurture an environment conductive to investment. These include establishment of institutions. The investment laws provide attractive fiscal regimes and protection of Industrial, attractive fiscal regimes, protection of Industrial and intellectual property, repatriation of profits and dividends, customs duties exemptions and reduced bureaucracy. The country has huge mineral resources include petroleum, iron, chromium ore, copper, zinc, mica, diamond and quartz an tungsten.