President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI / AFP
President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI / AFP

Juba — Ten months of relative peace in South Sudan has triggered a rush of investment, raising inflows four-fold this fiscal year to an expected $1bn.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) for the nation that’s been in the throes of civil war was about $250m in 2016/2017, according to South Sudan Investment Authority’s secretary-general, Abraham Maliet Mamer. Statistics for 2017/2018 are still being compiled.

“I am optimistic in 2019/2020 we will go beyond $1bn if this peace prevails,” Mamer said in an interview in the capital, Juba, on Friday.

About 400 investors from Africa, Asia and Europe are looking at the country’s oil, mineral and agriculture industries, Mamer said. SA plans to invest $1bn partly for oil exploration, and MTN will spend $30m on its telecommunications network in the country, Mamer said. Investors from Dubai and Egypt have also expressed interest, he said.

The government will neither block dividend repatriation nor demand guarantee payments, investors will be entitled to five-year tax holidays and reinvested profits will be entitled to discounts, he said.

The agency wants all investors including those returning and long-established companies such as the local units of MTN and Zain Group to register and be issued investment certificates, Mamer said.

“Zain has not registered with us, what right do they have to take their money out? MTN has not registered with us, what right do they have to repatriate their money? They can’t,” Mamer said.

Zain obtained a South Sudan investment certificate at the end of 2018, a spokesperson for the company said. MTN’s South Sudan head of corporate services, Khumbulani Dhlomo, said the company had a licence and paid taxes.

Bloomberg