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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More