7 October 2011 – The South Sudanese capital of Juba played host today to the country's first international business symposium and trade fair, which gathered together local and foreign investors as well as government officials.
Officially opened by Elizabeth Majok, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment, the business fair aimed to foster information sharing and networking.
"I know South Sudan is lacking many things," Ms. Majok said. "Everything is imported from outside. It is time now to look into local production (and) not importing any more."
The undersecretary added that the exhibition was a good opportunity for investors to display their products and learn about investing in the new nation, which had much potential.
"I encourage the outside world to come and invest here," Ms. Majok said. "Whatever you do, whatever you bring here, you will for sure not (lose) in South Sudan."
The business fair was organized by the South Sudanese commerce ministry and Blue Spring International, a company concerned with trade fair management and event promotion in the country.
Muchiri Karegwa of Blue Spring said the greatest challenge for investors in South Sudan was the lack of information.
Many people had no knowledge about where to obtain information at the right time about business, he said.
An estimated 50 local and international companies participated in the three-day fair, which attracted exhibitors in the hospitality, telecommunication, pharmaceutical, food and other key sectors.
The Government of South Sudan has plans to hold five investment conferences in the United States, Europe, Africa and Middle as well as Far East in wooing would-be investors to tap into the country's numerous resources. In addition to oil, the country is rich in iron, copper, gold and limestone, among other mineral resources.