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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid