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South Sudan Seeks Foreign Investors to Reopen Shuttered Factories

A barge with food and other imports arrives at the Nile port of Kosti at White Nile State, South Sudan, September 21, 2011.

South Sudan's undersecretary for commerce says the new country plans to reach out to international investors to refurbish and reopen a number of shuttered factories to help create jobs.

Elizabeth Manoa Majok told the Reuters news agency that the country is dependent on imports, which means a lot of hard currency goes overseas. She said there has been a surge of investor interest since South Sudan formally became independent in July. But she said a lack of infrastructure and industry are creating big challenges.

Majok said the government is looking to restart an edible oils factory, followed by cement, textile, canning, and sugar factories.

Some of these plants date back to South Sudan's British colonial days, and were closed during the long civil war with the north.

South Sudan voted to split from Sudan earlier this year. The independence referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the decades of fighting. Many in both countries are afraid, however, the fighting could erupt again over border disputes and other unsettled issues, including oil revenue.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.