Tekedia received a new copy of the South Sudan national anthem. It reads in parts as follows:
Land of great abundance, uphold us united in peace and liberty
We think this is a great line and if they can make that unity and liberty a reality, it will be a new dawn indeed for the newest nation on earth.
South Sudan became a new nation on July 9, 2011. The nation of 8m to 14m (Africa does not do well in counting itself, you must not expect South Sudan to figure that out, yet) is awash with natural resources. It has fertile and well-watered wet lands. Many rural people do not need to buy farmlands because they have them in abundance. Just wake up and cultivate. The country has oil, gold, chromium, iron ore and many other minerals.
The investors are coming and everyone wants to equip a new state. The entrepreneurs are also arriving. People know there is money to be made in this young nation. The Chinese, Kenyans, Ethiopians and a host of other nationals have been arriving in the town as the new nation begins life. Expatriates are arriving. Sudanese Diasporas that left home after years of conflicts are also coming home. There is hope in this country and everyone wants to help build it.
The country must not think that it is different from any African nation because its independence is coming from an African government, instead of the usual European power. Having minerals mean nothing in Africa and abundance in most cases is a curse. But South Sudan is emerging at a time when knowledge of good governance in Africa has reached a new dimension. Technology has brought empowerment in Africa and every leader understands that.
The government must not just start working on giving drilling concessions. They should focus on improving the literacy rates of the citizens. That is the most important thing they have to do. They need to focus on education and get more people educated. More than 85% of the population is illiterates. So, the challenge for companies is finding talents. They need education and training programs to get this nation going.
When education is done, they have to work on transportation and building their infrastructure. South Sudan has no road network. There is also the need to modernize the property rights. They have to revamp and create a strong IPR system in the nation.
The hotel system in South Sudan is very primitive and it is very expensive over there. It costs more than $150 for a night stay, not in hotels, but make-shift shipping containers that have been turned into hotels. The government must help get this industry going immediately.
The taxation is this region is very prohibitive. They need an immediate reform on taxation. In the recent Doing Business report, Sudan is not that a good place for business. The International Finance Corporation has Juba, the capital as one of the worst places of doing business. It was ranked 159th out of 183 cities worldwide. Also an issue is that in Doing Business Index, Juba comes behind Kinshasa as the worst place to start a business. It is not your idea that gets you ahead, but your connection and networks.
For all that that can happen, Tekedia wants the nation to focus on agriculture. It has to feed its people to sustainable peace and prosperity. It also must pursue free enterprise and empower citizens towards prosperity.
– South Sudan must pursue the development of agriculture. It could be Africa’s largest producer of foods. If it can feed its people, it will become a leader over time. They have to figure how to make an export business in their livestock.
– It has to develop its timber business
We wish the people of South Sudan good luck, but they must work fast to ensure they do not get into conflicts. The traits are still there and only an effective government can make things well.