Think of tropical hard wood - ebony, mahogany, teak - and you probably don't think of South Sudan. One of the country's lesser-known natural resource superlatives is its relative abundance of forests.
Dr. Pamela L. Lomoro
In seven years of independent control, South Sudan has not diversified its economy. Now the domestic agricultural sector languishes and international agri-businesses procure land for export markets. This failure could fuel conflict, if real change is not made.
As a USAID International Engagement Conference for South Sudan gets underway in Washington DC tomorrow and Thursday (Dec. 14 and 15), a new report cautions against foreign land investments that are being promoted as a solution for development in the new nation.
On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) became the world’s newest nation. Despite the significant strides that South Sudanese have made since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, South Sudan remains one of the least developed countries in the world. In order to meet its developmental challenges, the government of South Sudan has begun promoting large-scale private investments as a shortcut to rapid economic development.
The largest land deal in South Sudan to date was negotiated between a Dallas, Texas-based firm, Nile Trading and Development Inc. (NTD) and Mukaya Payam Cooperative in March 2008. The 49-year land lease of 600,000 hectares (with a possibility of 400,000 additional hectares) for 75,000 Sudanese Pounds (equivalent to approximately USD 25,000), allows NTD full rights to exploit all natural resources in the leased land.