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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid