News / Africa

    Juba Trying Hard to Be Business-Friendly

    Multimedia

    The fledgling capital of Southern Sudan, Juba, is open for business, according to the World Bank's recent survey "Doing Business in Juba 2011". Out of 183 countries surveyed, Juba ranks 159th on the ease of doing business. Juba scores relatively high on dealing with construction permits and starting a business, and is ahead of Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria on enforcing contracts and paying taxes. But the report says credit facilities, investor protections, and infrastructure are comparatively weak.

    It's being touted as Africa's fastest-growing city. No one knows this better than Ben Magom, supervisor at the brick-making company ESP International. He said he has seen first-hand how quickly Juba is expanding by the 2,000 or so bricks he and his colleagues produce a day.

    "It's for the businesses, for homes. When somebody buys the bricks, they can go and construct the houses, the schools, the factories," said Magom. "[They are] doing a very, very good job here in Juba."

    High hopes

    On the eve of Southern Sudanese independence, and with high hopes of long-term peace, investors from the region and outside are setting up shop.

    One such company is the South African-owned Southern Sudan Beverages Limited, which in recent months announced that it will be pumping in an additional $15 million into its brewing and bottling operations.

    Ever since the signing of the North-South peace deal in 2005 that ended more than two decades of civil war, the fledgling Southern Sudan administration has been setting up its regulatory framework.

    Challenges vs opportunities

    "South Sudan has modernized relevant laws, reestablished a company registry, promoted public-private dialogue, and established an institutional framework for investment generation and promotion," noted Maria Miller, with the World Bank Group Investment's Climate Advisory Services.

    According to a recent World Bank survey, Juba scores relatively high on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and enforcing contracts.

    "Thanks to Juba's business registry, which was established in 2006, entrepreneurs can start a business in just 15 days," said Miller. "More than 12,000 businesses have in fact registered in the last five years."

    The costs of starting and maintaining a business are more than twice the average cost in Sub-Saharan Africa. One big reason is because of Southern Sudan's lack of roads and other infrastructure.

    Improvements needed

    "We don't get electricity from the grid, or when we get it, sometimes it is not stable, spoiling most of our equipment," complained George Ghines, owner of the Notos Lounge Bar and Grill. "We have to turn on the generator, but then we struggle to find diesel, or we have to go into the black market and find diesel at two times or three times the price."

    Ghines said the government has a long way to go to streamline investment and other procedures.

    "Unfortunately we have raised a lot of expectations within the people," he said. "People believe that after July 9 we're going to have a completely different country. No, it is going to take time until we set up our own systems. We're going to have our own investment law."

    Ghines said despite the challenges, he finds it personally fulfilling to invest in the city of his birth.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.