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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Sudan create attractive environment for foreign investors  

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Friday said it was working on creating an attractive investment climate to lure foreign investors as the country seeks to reinvigorate its economy that has been battered from over four years of conflict.

Abraham Maliet Mamer, secretary general for South Sudan Investment Authority, told journalists that the country is open and ready for big foreign investments to revive its economy.

“As far as the big picture is concerned, our country is ready to receive investors. Our country has been closed for so long and now is the time to speak loud and clear that our country is ready for investment,” he said in Juba.

Mamer said international businesses are welcome to come and invest in South Sudan. He said they are looking toward integrating e-business and e-investment platforms to ease the cost of doing business.

The country relies on oil production to finance 98 percent of its fiscal expenditure and recently hinted at boosting oil production levels following disruption by violence which saw production drop to below 165,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 350,000 bpd in 2012.

South Sudan is set to host its second oil and gas investment conference on Nov. 21-22 in Juba. The first one took place in October last year.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

South Sudan army, rebel forces hold first meeting to strengthen peace

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan army and rebels from the main rebel group led by former First Vice President Riek Machar have agreed on key provisions to cease hostilities and allow unhindered humanitarian access.

Lul Ruai Koang, the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces spokesman, told Xinhua on Wednesday that they reached compromise with the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition to allow free movement of soldiers, enhance security of civilians and allow unhindered humanitarian access in their controlled territories.

“Those points were agreed upon which basically echoed provisions contained in the revitalized peace agreement,” said Koang in Juba.

The recent meeting comes in the wake of President Salva Kiir signing the final revitalized agreement with Machar’s SPLA-IO on Sept. 12 in Ethiopia, ending over four years of conflict.

Under the deal, Machar will return in May next year to Juba to take up his former post of first vice president under the revitalized peace agreement negotiated by the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir with support from the East African bloc, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO spokesperson, said they agreed on free movement of soldiers or security personnel with departure orders and they must be unarmed and in none-uniform.

He said the pact includes allowing free movement of civilians, non- military logistics and goods through each other’s controlled territories.

Gabriel added that both sides will take full responsibility for any criminal activity that happens in each’s territory and bring the perpetrators to book.

He further said humanitarian organizations will be granted unhindered access to the most vulnerable population so that basic services can be provided to them.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

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South Sudan rebels open humanitarian corridor in border town

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO), has for the first time since outbreak of renewed violence in 2016 allowed humanitarian access to Pibor in the east part of the country near the Ethiopian border.

John Daniel Bol, information secretary for the SPLA-IO in Bieh region, said in a statement on Friday that they are implementing orders from their leader Riek Machar allowing humanitarian access to Pibor from Akobo East County where four UN World Food Program (WFP) boats carrying food aid to Lokurmach were dispatched.

The UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) of January-July report highlights Pibor as one of the most food insecure counties in South Sudan In February 2016.

Several humanitarian agencies like the medical charity Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), have suspended in the past operations there due to looting and attacks by gun men on their centers.

Pibor also experiences cattle raiding, child abduction orchestrated by the Murle tribe which also poses security risks to Ethiopia’s Gambela region.

This development comes after government troops and rebels met for the first time since the renewed fighting and agreed on free movement of soldiers and humanitarian workers within their controlled territories.

Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO spokesperson, said they will open up several roads from Yei to Lainya, Lasu and Kaya in the Central Equatoria region which has experienced heavy violence in the past.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups in September signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.

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South Sudan’s peace monitors urge end to state of emergency

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s peace monitors on Thursday called on the government to officially lift the state of emergency in some parts of the country to restore political space needed for achieving sustainable peace.

Augostino Njoroge, deputy chairperson at the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said for confidence-building purposes, the government should pave way for the recognition of democratic rights and freedom of speech, including the role of a responsible media.

“For confidence-building purposes, we recommend to officially announce the lifting of state of emergency, to ensure that the political space needed for exercising the individual’s democratic rights and freedom of speech is in place, and the role of a responsible media is duly recognized,” Njoroge said in a statement issued in Juba.

Njoroge said the confidence-building measures already initiated by President Salva Kiir should continue to constructively engage all stakeholders and parties to the agreement to ensure inclusivity of the revitalized deal.

“Together and in a spirit of unity, the president and the leaders of the opposition should travel throughout the country and advocate for peace and reconciliation to the people of South Sudan,” he added.

He appealed to regional and international guarantors to fully support the implementation of the agreement through appropriate political and economic support.

The state of emergency was declared in the greater Upper Nile region following the outbreak of the conflict in 2013 but later extended to two regions of Bahrl-el-Ghazal and Equatoria after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar engaged in combat. 

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South Sudan peace could help cement ties with China: expert

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s peace prospects could help strengthen China’s engagement with the east African country and in turn cement ties between Juba and Beijing, an expert said on Thursday.

James Okuk, senior research fellow at the Center for Strategic Policy Studies, a Juba-based think tank, said Beijing has maintained good relations with South Sudan even when many countries turned their back after the world’s youngest nation plunged into a devastating civil war in late 2013.

Though the conflict slowed down economic engagements between the two countries, Okuk said, the recently signed peace deal, if implemented, would enable China and South Sudan to forge stronger ties, especially in the areas of trade, infrastructure, and economic development.

“China has already done some infrastructure projects in South Sudan, and with peace, I think the relation is going to be stronger and more fruitful,” Okuk told Xinhua in an interview in Juba.

Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, China has become one of its biggest trading partners, according to official data. Beijing is also one of South Sudan’s largest sources of investment.

“When it comes to economic development, they ( the Chinese) are very good. And once peace is holding and the economic situation becomes very good, it will really cement relations between these countries and take it to a higher level,” Okuk said.

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar, and several opposition groups in September signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.

           

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