South Sudan’s Petroleum and Mining Deputy Minister Elizabeth James Bol (left) and the Australian Special Envoy of the Prime Minister Tim Fisher addressing the press in Juba. [Gurtong/ Waakhe Simon Wudu]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 19 June 2012 [Gurtong] - It joins China, Malaysia, Norway and Japan among others in the scramble for the turbulent oil sector and the unexploited mining industry in the infant nation.
The Australian Special Envoy of the Prime Minister Tim Fisher last Friday led a delegation to Juba for a series of meetings with different government officials including the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
The Petroleum and Mining Deputy Minister Elizabeth James Bol told the press that Australia is keen on co-operating with South Sudan by providing technical and economic support to boost the country’s oil sector.
Fisher said the visit was conducted in a bid to assess the dynamism of the oil sector in South Sudan.
“Australia has a great deal of practical commitment to provide technical support for the extractive industry and transparency initiative. Australia has this year released 29million Australian Dollars to South Sudan covering development initiatives on areas of oil and mining, health and agriculture”, he said.
He added that the South Sudan oil Bill which awaits Presidential assent has portrayed the country’s readiness to ensure transparency in the oil sector, something which he said is admired by investors.
Tim said his country has pledged to train staffs of the country’s oil and mining industry and offer advisors in the various oil sectors to boost the government’s plans in the sector.
“Australia has 240 oil companies operating in Africa and the visit to South Sudan is to diversify the extension of such foreign economic development”, said Fisher.
Bol said the visit will enhance co-operation between the two countries, adding that it will immensely contribute to development of South Sudan.
The continued feud with its neighbor, Sudan, led to the shutdown of oil production in the country early this year, a move that has led to an economic crisis.