News / Africa

South Sudan Conflict Squeezes Regional Economy

FIle - South Sudanese men inspect crates of soft drinks that were unloaded at the port in Juba, Southern Sudan.
FIle - South Sudanese men inspect crates of soft drinks that were unloaded at the port in Juba, Southern Sudan.
The conflict in South Sudan is sending ripples across the regional economy.  In Uganda, one of South Sudan's biggest trading partners, tens of thousands of merchants are feeling the loss of cross-border trade.

In late December, Dan Ssesanga was herded into a Ugandan military truck and, with gunfire ringing in his ears, given safe passage out of South Sudan's capital, Juba.  But Ssesanga sells eggs, and his merchandise stayed behind.

“I left behind 600 crates of eggs - that’s about $7,000," he lamented. "I don’t know what’s [going on] with it, because I have lost contact with the person who is managing the shop.”

In any case, Ssesanga has lost thousands of dollars, and says he is not sure his business will ever recover.  He is not alone.

“In all other commodities, as Uganda we’ve lost a lot," he added.  "There are many farmers who had gone into perishable goods with a major focus on the Juba market.  Right now they can’t sell all that.”

While all eyes are focused on Juba and Jonglei, the conflict in South Sudan has been sending economic ripples across East Africa.  Exact figures do not exist, but Uganda alone had tens of thousands of traders working in the country, according to Patrick Ntege, head of the Uganda Traders  Association of South Sudan.

“South Sudan is Uganda’s biggest trading partner, bigger than even the whole of the European Union," he noted. " So when trade is halted abruptly, it’s a blow to the economy of Uganda, it’s a blow to the business community, especially the small traders who are informal traders.  It’s a very big blow.”

With so little industry in a country still recovering from decades of war, nearly everything was imported in South Sudan, explained Jim Mugunga of the Ugandan Ministry of Finance.  Kenyans were also doing business there, he said, but most basic goods came from Uganda.

“What comes out of Uganda are basic commodities - things like water, things like hygiene products, soap, and others of that nature.  Uganda is a huge food basket for Southern Sudan, so you have things like sugar, salt, veggies, bananas, beans, maize,” he remarked.

Mugunga said now, traders in these basic goods have no way to move their merchandise.

Regional governments have been suffering as well, as the conflict has put plans for an oil pipeline from South Sudan to the Indian Ocean on hold.  

Dickens Kamugisha of the African Institute for Energy Governance said this project would give Uganda a more cost-effective way to export its own oil and would be a major revenue producer for both Uganda and Kenya. 

“Sudan exports around 200,000 barrels in a year, [and] you’d be talking about $100 million (U.S.) in terms of gains if it was passing here.  So in a period of one year, five years, 10 years, it would be a huge cost.  That money, we as Uganda would be losing it,” he said.

Both Kamugisha and Ntege agree that economic considerations could well be behind Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to broker peace, and his swift decision to send troops to Juba.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid