With recent independence in 2011, South Sudan is working to build its economy and facilitate private investment. The new country offers enormous potential with fertile farmland, oil, and natural resources. It also faces challenges to sustainable economic development and facilitating investments common in frontier markets.
Looking at ways to help boost the country’s private sector development, OPIC Executive Vice President Mimi Alemayehou and South Sudan’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Garang Diing Akuong today signed an Investment Incentive Agreement encouraging U.S. private sector investment in South Sudan. The signing ceremony was part of a delegation in Washington D.C. that focused on investment opportunities and economic challenges in South Sudan. In addition to boosting the country’s private sector development, the agreement will also streamline OPIC’s ability to support opportunities that contribute to its development and economic growth.
The first investment OPIC will support in the country is the construction and operation of the Grand Hotel Juba by Aquila Investments LLC, a Delaware-based company, and Taher Investments, a Jordan-based company. The 150-room hotel will include conference centers, meeting facilities, and restaurants. The project will contribute to development by enabling foreign investors to conduct business in South Sudan while staying and meeting in business-friendly accommodations. The hotel will also support the creation of local jobs.
In the past two years OPIC has made significant efforts to expand its work in Africa – a continent that is increasingly seen as an exciting investment destination. This focus has resulted in an extraordinary 300 percent increase in the agency’s commitments to the region last year. Whereas Sub-Saharan Africa comprised only six percent of OPIC’s global portfolio of loans, guarantees and insurances in 2001, today it stands at a full 21 percent.