Politics, Economy, Africa

Peace in South Sudan to bolster Turkish investment

South Sudan envoy invites Turkish investors to take lead to build his country as a transitional government takes shape

Mehmet Ozturk and Felix Tih   | 26.02.2020
Peace in South Sudan to bolster Turkish investment South Sudan’s ambassador to Turkey, Majok Guandong speaks during an exclusive interview in Ankara, Turkey on February 25, 2020. ( Esra Hacioğlu - Anadolu Agency )


South Sudan’s ambassador to Turkey urged Turkish investors to “be among the first” to invest in his country, even as a new transitional government takes shape under a landmark peace deal.

Last Friday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir appointed rebel leader Riek Machar vice president after they agreed to form a long-delayed unity government – a crucial step towards ending six years of war. 

“We want to appeal to the business community in Turkey as we enter a new era, we want investors from our friends the Turkish people,” Ambassador Majok Guandong told Anadolu Agency.

The diplomat said that there are some four Turkish construction companies currently working in South Sudan. “But we need more.”

“We want construction companies from Turkey because we know Turkey. They are the best,” he said.

He added that Turkish people are very honest and they are the type of people his country wants to associate ourselves with.

“Our priority is to deliver services to the people ... that means building roads, building hospitals, building schools... and there will be an opportunity for investors,” Guandong said.

He urged Turkish investors to see the situation in South Sudan and take the lead in investment.

Turkish support

He also thanked the Turkish government for supporting the peace process in the East African country.

"I want to express my thanks and appreciation to the government of Turkey, for the support of the peace agreement," Guandong said.

"Our relationship with Turkey is very good," he added. 

Guandong said since South Sudan gained independence in 2011, they have been benefiting from Turkey through capacity building.

"The government of Turkey has been training our civil servants. Our diplomats, our media people ... petroleum and environmental officials," he added.

He also said there are about 100 South Sudanese students currently studying in Turkey.

On Sunday, Turkey welcomed a deal between the government of South Sudan and the opposition after they reached a consensus and formed a transitional government.

While Machar was sworn in as first vice president, Kiir also appointed three more vice presidents at a ceremony in the capital Juba.

The event was marked by calls for reconciliation and efforts for sustained peace in the war-weary country.

Kiir urged people to forgive each other and end their differences, saying he would work with all his new deputies to lead the country on a path of peace.

Guandong also thanked Anadolu Agency for its regular coverage of South Sudan.

“We value very much your [Anadolu Agency] contribution to the news not only in this but worldwide, in particular in Africa,” he said.

Peace deal

Addressing administrative changes under the new government, Guandong said his country entered a new era after Kiir “for the sake of peace decided to bring the states to 10 again, with three administrative areas.”

He added that the decision followed thorough consultation among government institutions.

“This news was highly welcomed by the people of South Sudan, including the opposition and all political parties. That was what made a breakthrough to the peace agreement.”

Asked about the difference between the 2015 and 2018 peace deals, he said: “In 2015 we had two armies that are the government army and the opposition army.”

He said now there will be only “one army, one security, one police under one government.”

“The power-sharing is 55% for the government and 45% for the opposition,” he added.

Relations with Sudan

Guandong said his government also supports the peace process in neighboring Sudan. “The government of South Sudan is mediating between the government of Sudan and the rebels in Sudan.

“We think that peace in Sudan is peace in South Sudan. Any conflict in Sudan will affect South Sudan and vice versa.

''We are one people in two countries,'' he said.

''The two Sudans are now committed to resolving all their issues. After that, they will now come to cooperate economically,'' he stressed.

He added that an oil pipeline between the two countries is working.

''There is no way you can stop the pipeline because 98% of our revenue comes from oil,'' he said.

''When we got our independence, our government paid $3.2 billion to Sudan as compensation,'' he also said.

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