4 Aug 2020

 

Diversity Of Economy A Strategic Focus For South Sudan

"South Sudan is rich with natural resources such as energy, mining, fertile land, water, forestry, fisheries, and livestock".

By Ater Yuot Riak, Ph.D.

Diversity of economy has been a wide intensity debate for long. Currently, oil revenue makes up 98% of the country’s national budget. Current very low demand dropped crude prices badly and South Sudan economy will be hard hit.

This is not the first time oil prices have fluctuated. It happens from time to time due to a certain circumstance such as coronavirus pandemic. Thus, it is a time for South Sudan to think strategically and stabilize the economy by developing other sectors. South Sudan is rich with natural resources such as energy, mining, fertile land, water, forestry, fisheries, and livestock. There are mineral resources such as gold, iron and copper in greater Equatoria and greater Bahr el Ghazal.

Different types of crops, vegetables and fruits, oil seeds and palm seeds, are available in all the states. Tea, coffee, tobacco, teak and mahogany wood are available in Greater Equatoria and Greater Baher el Ghazal. Further more, acacia (gum Arabic) cotton crop, livestock, fish, poultry and bee keeping for honey production are available throughout the country.

All these available resources potentialized various industry opportunities in the country. Food production, from drinking water and other soft drinks to alcoholic drinks, fruit and vegetable industries can be established. In addition, dairy, meat, fish production are other industry opportunities.

Mining and chemical based industries can be built to produce cooking oil, soap and flour. In the operational oilfields areas, the petrochemical industries for olefins (including ethylene and propylene) and aromatics (including benzene, toluene and xylene isomers) can also be established. The Kenaf industry is suggested for packaging materials production, paper production from papyrus in Sudd area, cotton textile and sugarcane industries.

Horns, hooves, skins, and leather production, animal feeds mills and veterinary pharmaceutical industries can be established in the biggest towns of South Sudan.

Fabrication of doors and windows frames, gates shelves and production of metal water tanks can be produced.

Tourism industry is also another area of interest, for instance, in Nimule, Sudd area and other places throughout the country.

Industrialization cannot be then achieved without a proper access to energy. For instance, the available hydropower, biomass and solar energy resources can be used to generate electricity. The hydropower sites are found mostly in Equatoria to Baher el Ghazal States.

Crude oil from oil producing areas is another viable source for electricity generation. The current electric power is supplied by diesel based generation which characterized with poor infrastructure, lack of spare parts, maintenance and lack of technical persons.

Fula dam near Numlei town, is the biggest potential project to generate electricity with capacity of more than 500 MW.

However, there is a hydro site near Juba with estimated capacity of around 130 MW and this could be used to improve electricity service in the city.

An account under direct supervisory of the president of the republic might be created for this purpose. Therefore, allocation portion of oil money to start these industries will guarantee the strongest and stable economy of the country.

The proposed industries create economic opportunities for the entire people of South Sudan. The willingness of the people of each State to utilize the resources is the biggest support to themselves and to their States.

Finally, I have an opinion I must say, if the idea of enhancing all our natural resources in such a manner that we established industries that generate income more than oil money, why not keep that crude oil in the ground? In other words, this oil itself brings along insecurity and environmental impacts to human.

E-mail: ater.amogpai@gmail.com
 

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