The South Sudan, Uganda Business Forum aimed at boosting trade between the countries commenced in Juba on Tuesday.
The three-day forum has brought together several business participants from Juba and Kampala.
Brig. Gen Ronnie Balya, Ugandan Ambassador to South Sudan, said that the forum will enable the private sector in Uganda and South Sudan to meet, network, examine challenges and identify opportunities to expand their businesses.
In addition, he suggested businesses from both sides would also explore creating joint ventures in Industry, ICT, agriculture, minerals, oil and gas, infrastructure, education, healthcare and financial services.
“The forum will serve as a platform to explore new business opportunities and to address the challenges that affect trade and investment between Uganda and South Sudan in key sectors including security, energy and mining, agriculture, education, tourism, manufacturing, infrastructure, construction and professional services,” Balya said.
Balya disclosed that the main objective is to establish a South Sudan – Uganda joint business forum, and raise awareness about investment and business opportunities in both countries.
He added that the forum will boost bilateral trade and investment flow and also showcase the Uganda-South Sudan private sectors through business exhibition.
“Before the war in 2013, Uganda’s exports to South Sudan were approaching 1 billion U.S dollars, but today Uganda’s exports to South Sudan are between 350 to 400 million dollars,” Balya said.
South Sudan’s exports to Uganda are approximately between 80 million dollars to 100 million dollars.
“Now that peace has returned to South Sudan, I encourage our people to embrace new prospects that will expand our bilateral trade and investment,” Balya said.
Kuol Athian Mawien, South Sudan’s Minister of Trade and Industry, said that the forum will come up with some regulations on the movement of goods between the two countries.
He revealed that some of the goods from South Sudan are being smuggled to Uganda, adding that this forum provides opportunity to address this issue.
“What we want from business people is to register and have proper documents such that you are known by the authorities and if anything happens to you or your business, government will be in position to intervene,” Mawien said.
Onyoti Adingo, the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, said that the forum has potential to create win-win benefits for both countries.
“We need to have win-win business policy between our two countries, what Ugandans do in South Sudan should be done by South Sudanese in Uganda,” he said.