By William Madouk Garang
Economic experts have welcomed the Cooperation Agreement aimed to boost economic and trade ties between the Republic of South Sudan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia saying the deal would grant the gulf country investment opportunities in Africa’s oil-rich nation.
The deal inked on Monday in Riyadh, the Saudi’s capital, provided for knowledge exchange between the two sides, allows Saudi to invest in agriculture, oil, livestock, and fisheries which would generate millions of dollars.
Experts now urged the government to promote peace and ‘economic diplomacy’ to woo more foreign investors in the country, build global ties and create more jobs for citizens.
In an interview with Juba Monitor, the economist analyst, Dr. Abraham Maliet Mamer who is also an advisor in the office of Vice President for Economic Cluster, Dr. Wani Igga, said Saudi is one of the top oils producing countries with the latest technology, so deal with them would help the country to benefit from their experience.
“Yes, we will definitely benefit from Saudi’s knowledge in investment, the Saudi’s capital from Saudis people who got money. We will also develop cooperation alongside Saudi’s knowledge on the petroleum production, [and] in oil and gas industries Saudi are very much advancing,” Dr. Mamer said.
“In economic terms, yes, cooperation is needed; the cooperation is beneficial to the Republic of South Sudan. What I advise, is that it should not be signed the protocol and leave it there, it should be followed and implemented,” he added.
Dr. Mamer said in the areas of investment South Sudan should focus on promoting and commoditizing enormous unexploited resources such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
Meanwhile, the Economic analyst, Reja Gladys Joseph who is also a lecturer at the University of Juba, faculty of economics welcomed the deal and encouraged the leadership to embark on food production.
“It’s really a good initiative for the nation to have external relation with develop country like Saudi Arabia that is a very good cooperation but we should think to focus on investment and this a gospel I always preach,” Joseph said.
“If you want to make money or want to be self-sustaining you not to focus on investment than add something little and rather than [South Sudan] depending on humanitarian aids which is not health economy,” she added.
Ms. Joseph cited that if the 5th Governor’s Forum proposal on the economy could be adopted, it would help the nation overcome economic shocks and become independent in terms of producing its own food.
She stressed that investing in eight national agricultural projects such as Aweil Rice Scheme, Mangala and Melut Sugar Schemes, Upper Talanga Tea project in Torit and cement industry would achieve economic strength than importing.
“The outflow is really huge compared to the inflow, at least could we spend I could think of cement and even other like in agriculture sector cause now we almost import 90% of food items. So, let us think about producing our own food feeding our own citizens,” she noted.
Yesterday, the government of the Republic of South Sudan and the United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had signed a 9 Articles Document also known as the ‘General Cooperation Agreement’ to strengthen economic ties.
The agreement Minister of Foreign Affair & International Cooperation, Mayiik Ayii Deng and his Saudi Counterpart signed focuses on areas of economic fields, such as Technology, Industrial, Petroleum, Minerals, Agriculture, livestock and Tourism among others.