By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan has wooed the foreign investors to the oil sectors as the East Africa’s youngest nation turns a decade next week.
South Sudan hosted the Oil and Power 4th conference in Juba to raise financing and build infrastructure and energy projects.
The Oil & Power conference is part of a campaign to drive capital into key energy and infrastructure sectors.
Speaking at the opening of the South Sudan Oil and Power Conference, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin said South Sudan is stable enough to welcome investments after six years of crisis, sent out most foreign investors in the country.
“Don’t worry of anything, the government is working to bring stability in the country. The 2018 peace agreement is “progressing well” with the parties in the unity government having the political will to “fully implement the peace deal for the country to have stability,” said Dr. Marial.
Minister Marial urged domestic and foreign investors to take up available investment opportunities in oil and other minerals in the country.
“We have a lot of resources that we need people to come and invest in,” Marial told delegates from both the region and internationally attending the conference
“We have oil, gold, agriculture and wild life, among other minerals that we have in the country and we want whoever is willing to come and invest with us here in South Sudan,” said Dr. Marial, who was guest of honor.
Marial further urged banking institutions in the country to provide loans to businesses in order to spur local investments.
South Sudan’s Petroleum Minister, Hon Puot Kang Chol said the country had achieved some significant progress include the resumption of oil production in Unity state, road infrastructure, and renovation of Juba International airport.
He said the main priority in the sector is increasing foreign investment as a foundation for economic recovery.
Chol welcomed investors into the country and urged them on collaborating with their local counterparts.
The Minister of Investment, Dhieu Mathok said the country’s wealth of untapped resources should attract foreign investments.
“South Sudan is blessed with a lot of resources, we need industries and we cannot do it alone. We need investors to come and invest in South Sudan,” said Mathok.
Mathok assured that they are now working hard to address some of the challenges that used to face the investors who want to invest in our country.
The investors were warned to adhere to the human resource policy for equal employment to all oil workers and protect environmental pollution.
“It is a good message that South Sudan is on right path on peace implementation and the country is very peaceful and stability for business and investment,” said James Hoth Mai, Minister of Labour.
However, Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining Adel Ali Ibrahim appreciated the resumption of oil production to improve country investment and economic growth and promised to work closely with his South Sudanese counterpart.
Somalia Minister of Petroleum, Gas, and energy Mohamed Hamid said the Juba conference on oil and energy would improve the bilateral relationship between two sisterly countries.
“This mark a beginning of transformance chapter of matual relationships in exporating our natural resources,” said Hamid. Adding that it is a quiet great deed of work commitment and dedication in order from the people and the government of South Sudan to get to this point of oil sectors development.
South Sudan Civil Society appreciates the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Energy and Dams for organizing the conference on Oil and Power amidst the various challenges of the year 2021 aggravated by COVID-19.
They say the development is magnificent, but equitable management of the natural resources in the oil resources should benefit the people now without compromising the future generation.
The nation has also launched its first-ever oil licensing round featuring five blocks that invites experienced partners and operators to unlock South Sudan’s oil and gas acreage that remains 90% unexplored.
South Sudan has been on the global radar for corruption in the oil sector since its independence in 2011, with various international human rights organisations accusing the country’s leadership of allowing the military elite to loot the sector at the expense of citizens.
According to a recent World Bank report, South Sudan’s oil sector has the potential to remain the primary driver of growth, with estimated oil production of 62.1 million barrels in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, a 26.5 percent increase from 49.1 million barrels in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
Before the civil war broke out in 2013, South Sudan was producing 350,000 barrels per day, but later dropped to about 130, 000 barrels per day as most of the oil fields in the Upper Nile and Unity states were shut down.
However, following the signing of the peace agreement in Khartoum in September 2018, South Sudan and Sudan joined forces to provide security and open the Unity State’s most productive oil fields.
Currently, the country produces between 175,000 and 230,000 barrels per day, but experts believe that if security is guaranteed, South Sudan has the potential to produce 500,000 barrels per day.
South Sudan is seeking to establish energy development as a catalyst for economic growth and sustainable development, stimulating diversification, skills development and job creation across both energy and non-energy industries.
The two-day conference is being held under the theme, ‘Build the Nation, Capital raising and innovative financing to build critical infrastructure and energy projects’.
Juba government urged companies to invest in different areas, incorporate Gold, tourism, wildlife, and agriculture as part of an asset than the oil and gas sector.
The government also assured stakeholders about its commitment to implement the Revitalize Peace Agreement ending seven years of political wrangling.