By Mary Poni Yugu
Wang Jianjun, deputy director general for the Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), recently stressed during a press briefing the need for African countries, and especially South Sudan, to do more to attract Chinese investment.
According to Wang, many Chinese companies are interested in investing in South Sudan, but have expressed concerns over the security situation, political transparency and terrorism.
“We believe Africa is one of the best places to invest due to its potential and resources. The Chinese government is working very hard in attracting investors to embark on massive industrialization, technological, infrastructural development and capacity building as a way of strengthening our cooperation with Africa,” Wang said.
If South Sudan is to benefit, the government has a major role to play in attracting these Chinese investors that are waiting to flood the African market, he stated.
It’s no secret that South Sudan is the youngest country in Africa, but its rich natural mineral resources could make this country the face of African development for the outside world.
Over the years, Africans have complained about exploitation by foreign investors who only buy raw materials at a very low price for export while importing finished products for sale at a very high cost.
This is an opportunity for the African continent to transform its economy by encouraging these Chinese investors to establish enterprises and produce commodities from the available raw materials, which will in turn create employment and contribute to the national economy.
Infrastructure is another major problem preventing foreign investors from doing business on the continent, but there are many construction companies that intend to develop these countries if the opportunity is given to them by African leaders.
South Sudan is in desperate need of infrastructural development in the areas of health facilities, educational systems, roads, railways and airports, especially if it wants to meet international standards and compete for investment opportunities.
One way to gain such support is by creating a friendly business environment for foreign investors. South Sudan needs more of such support as a way of capacity building and human resource development to handle the country’s vast resources and facilities.