On 9 July 2011 the Republic of South Sudan became a new country. Hundreds of investors and thousands of traders are rushing to be a part of this new nation. This is a travel guide but as a finance consultant associated with one international and two local firms, I can, for a fee, assist you to perform your market survey, investigate options, set up the company, set up financial systems, hire staff, find premises, and even run the business as I am based here.Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
These are endless. A new country needs everything, so stick to what you know best.
Right now construction is booming. There are buildings and roads sprouting like mushrooms, so building materials of all types are in demand, including stone, blocks, sand, cement, aggregates, labor, steel bars, wire mesh, generators, poker vibrators, concrete mixers, cranes, wood, poles, nails, plumbing, electrical fittings, office furnishings, partition materials, air conditioners, and so much more.
Hotels are doing well, apartments have a one year payback period as they are so few.
Schools and colleges are going to be an area with low competition as it is not easy to set up a good school, there is only one international kindergarten.
The real investors are planning to put up factories. I know people planning to do beer, spirits, cement, soda, juice, water, cigarettes, billboards, drugs and cosmetics.
There are people falling over themselves to invest in the large untouched farmlands with fertile soil and many rives as well as heavy natural rainfall.
There are others planning to mine oil, diamonds, gold, uranium, cement and many other easily available minerals.
There is a very large game resort under construction in Boma park, many more are expected.
Since there is all this about to happen, all other sectors are getting ready. Hotels are expanding, there are many shops under construction, marketing companies are putting up billboards.
Be careful when buying or leasing land. I am told the law states that land belongs to the community. I am not clear how community is defined, so seek legal advice before transacting on land.
It is a requirement that all foreign investors have a local partner. Make sure you know him or her well, as there are many stories in the newspapers about this. If you chose an experienced and well connected businessman your business will grow fast. On the contrary if your partner is for convenience you will suffer later. One person told me he got his landlord to be his business partner. Now he can not move the busness as his landlord is a business partner.Another told me he called a stranger off the street, and offered him a share in his business, as he was in a hurry! So chose your partner carefully.
I am not a lawyer so seek legal advice from a lawyer before making any decision. The county is new so there were around 30 new laws in June 2010: The C.P.A., The Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, Customary Laws of South Sudan, Police Act, The Forestry Commission Act, The Traffic Act, The Nationality Act, The Central Bank Act, Advocacy Act, Wildlife Conservation Act, Wildlife Forces Act, The Insurance Act, The Judiciary Act, The High Judicial Council Act, The SPLA Act, Civil Procedure Act, Public Corporation Act, The Code of Criminal Procedure Act, The Financial Institution Act, The Evidence Act, The Companies Act, Cooperative Societies Act, Non-Governmental Organization Act, The Penal Code Act, The Prison Act, Interpretation of Laws and General Provisions Act, Timber Utilization and Management Act, Passport and Immigration Act, The Investment Act The Telecommunication Corporation Act, The Attorney General Chambers Act, The Crops Training Centre Act, The Agricultural Technology Training Centre Act, The Agricultural Training Centre Act, I.D.E.A.S. Act, The Police General Regulation Act. All these are on the web.
I am told the Interpretation of Laws and General Provisions Act states that if there is no local Southern law, the northern law applies, so many Northern laws apply. 140 new laws will be passed between January and July 2011 so you need to have a good lawyer to keep abreast.
Registering your business
For those intending to start a business here there are few professional firms. Shop around, these are the few I visited:
JY Business And Management Consultants, a local firm, can handle the whole process for a fee, inculding all the paperwork. The senior partner, Joseph, a Certified Public Accountant, is based in Juba Town Center. They will contract the lawyers to register the company, a good lawyer charges USD 1,450 for company registration, if you want efficient service, but this can be negotiated down if you go to the lawyer’s office personally say to USD 1,200. It is assumed you will come with management staff but hire the other staff locally.
Travel permits to Southern Sudan are needed for all persons visiting the country.Work permits are USD 200 per year, for all employees to be hired.
William Gichuhi of Global Properties is one of the leading estate agents. He can arrange hire of offices from USD 1,000 to 3,000, warehouses from USD 3,000 to 15,000 and depending on location and size. He will charge a facilitation fee based on the amount of work to be done.
The people of this town are proud and confident. Ensure you treat everyone with respect, and they will respond with similar respect.
It is expected that you will assist the people of this country by employing and training as many local staff as possible. Please be aware of tribal balance, make sure you employ staff from all communities. The country has had many years of war, so the people near the borders crossed over and got better education, so ensure you do not exaggerate the problem by employing staff from one community or family. There are certain jobs that must be given to locals by law, like the drivers and subordinate staff.
I have seen a lot of six foot high door frames when the average height for some groups is well over six foot. Please note that people here can be as tall as 7 foot high and it is very inconvenient to expect them to get around an office with six foot door frames.
A lot of people learnt in Arabic, so make sure any notices are in both Arabic and English for all to understand.
There is an expectation that you will consider corporate responsibility. There are a number of local charities, orphanages, and other worthwhile causes you should consider assisting in various ways.
Editor, South Sudan NEWS PORTAL
Guide to Juba City, From Juba Travel Guide Archives, first published in July 2011 on the eve of South Sudan’s Independence.