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S. Sudan seeks investment in real estate   

JUBA, (Xinhua) -- South Sudan is looking for foreign investment into real estate and urban development in a bid to improve the standard of housing in urban areas in the war-torn country, a senior official said Tuesday.

Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Alfred Lado Gore, told Xinhua in an interview that the majority of houses in cities and towns across the country are still constructed with traditional materials and styles that do not represent characteristics of modern cities.

“While people in the 21st century are now living in state-of-the-art houses, we are still in medieval era where people live in Tukuls (grass huts) with no electricity and running water,” Gore said.

“Juba (South Sudan’s capital) is organized in a rural setting which you can’t see in other countries,” he added

Gore said the government was in talks with four foreign companies which have expressed interest in property development and urban planning to assist in building low-cost housing facilities in Juba and other major towns.

Responding to concerns about the ongoing violence in the country, Gore said he was optimistic that they will achieve it despite the difficulties the country is facing.

He further said the government would first start with developing investor-friendly land and housing policies to attract both local and foreign property developers.

“All technocrats” at the ministry will be sent to the Rwandan capital Kigali to learn from Rwanda’s success of developing affordable modern housing units and a beautiful capital city within short time, Gore said.

The 2010 South Sudan National Household Survey indicated that 90 percent of houses in the country were made from mud or sticks (known as Tukul), 5 percent from straw mats, 3 percent from wood and only about 2 percent from brick or concrete.

Statistics from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics show that 31 percent of the population live in houses with only one room.


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