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Minister bets on agriculture, mining for economic recovery

By William Madouk

South Sudan Economic Conference kicked off yesterday with an emphasis on revamping agricultural schemes and mining sector for economic stability.

In his opening remarks, the National Minister of Finance, Bak Barnaba Chol, said the conference will enable the government to renew its commitment towards stabilizing the economy and considering peace through equitable social services.

“Let us seize this opportunity that has been availed of by this conference to focus on areas of economic transformation, with economic diversification ranking high on the scale of preference,Bak said.

“We must expand agriculture towards a commercial level not only to ensure food security but also to generate income for our farmers and surplus for export,” he added.

According to him, the priority in the agriculture sector must include farmers’ productivity, access to markets, and enhancing the distribution system to minimize post-harvest losses as they revive agriculture schemes.

“In that regard, the government takes responsibility to revamp existing agriculture schemes such as the Aweil Rice Scheme, Renk Mechanize Agriculture, Jebel Lado Dura Scheme, Nzara Agro Complex, and Mangala Sugar Scheme, among others,” he noted.

“To maximize the impact and reach, we will cooperate through public-private partnerships to realize the result.  Let us revitalize and expand so that we get jobs for our populations and balance our trade,” Bak continued.

Mr. Bak also announced the establishment of the South Sudan Agricultural and Irrigation Company, which will shoulder the task of fostering agriculture and enhancing the country’s production capacity.

He further cited that the government would continue to regulate the mining sector and open doors for multinational cooperation to invest in the extracting sector.

Bak also said they launched the South Sudan Minerals Development Cooperation, which will work with entrusted partners to explore, trade, and support the development of the mineral sector together with the Ministry of Mining and other institutions.

He promised to empower youth and women by offering them job opportunities, capacity-building training, and funds to allow them to join markets.

The 4-day economic conference is organized under the theme Towards Diversified, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economic Growth.”

Other key issues to be discussed in the conference are how to play crucial policy roles in reshaping the country’s economic future.

Officiated by Vice President for Economic Cluster, Dr. James Wani Igga, and his counterpart for Infrastructure Cluster, Taban Deng Gai, the forum attracted national and state ministers, governors from the ten states and chief administrators of the three administrative areas.

Diplomats, Scholars, think tanks, policymakers, and analysts are among pivotal stakeholders of the conference.

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