We have peace now, but there’s a challenge – How do we rebuild South Sudan’s economy?
The success of the peace deal ending South Sudan’s five-year civil war may depend on the economic opportunities that stability in the country could bring.
According to the African Development Bank South Sudan is the most oil-dependent country in the world.
Until conflict disrupted the industry in 2013, oil accounted for 60% of the economy, contributing 95% of the government’s revenues.
The sector produces 130,000 barrels of crude a day, but the government in Juba aims to double that after opening negotiations with companies like Total of France and UK-based Tullow Oil.
If stability becomes a reality South Sudan could develop farming. Experts say 70% of the nation’s land is fertile, but only 5% is cultivated.
Investment is needed to build modern roads in a country where few exist and provision of electricity will remain a problem with most businesses forced to use diesel generators.
South Sudan will still rely on importing goods and services from neighbours like Uganda and Sudan. In the longer term the aim will be to integrate the country into the economy of the East African Community.
A major problem facing South Sudan is the loss of human capital, as many who would have added to the skilled workforce left the country as refugees during the conflict.