Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania have been urged to grab business opportunities presented by the world's youngest nation, in the Tanzania-South Sudan Business Mission scheduled for October22 to 25).
To be held in Juba, the event is expected to harness the potential in joint ventures, investments, trade and socio-economic development between the two countries.
Speaking to The Guardian in an exclusive interview, Boniface Michael, Acting Assistant Director for Bilateral Programmes in the Directorate of Trade Integration at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the respective minister Dr Abdallah Kigoda would lead the delegation.
“We urge Tanzanian SMEs to ensure that they seize the opportunities available in the Juba market in a move to build long term cordial business relations,” he said.
Michael, who doubles as the mission organiser, said that the problem with EU, US an Asian markets is in what is called Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS) which entered into force with the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in January 1, 1995.
The measures are aimed at ensuring that consumers are supplied with food that is safe to eat, and to make sure that there is prevention mechanism on the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants.
Nevertheless, most business from underdeveloped nations fails to meet the set conditions thus automatically find themselves out of the market.
According to him, Juba is the answer as it needs everything in almost all sectors such as agriculture and agribusiness, extractive business, infrastructure, tourism, manufacturing and general trading (import and export).
Therefore, he said: “The forum will provide avenue for businesses to exchange contacts and experience, there would be one to one business meetings, so interested companies are advised prepare detailed profiles for easy promotion.”
According to media report, after a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the north, Kenyan companies were the first to tackle the market by setting up business operations in South Sudan.
“It is now our turn…” said Michael adding that: “It's the only place in the world today where there's an opportunity to start from zero…and if you happen to start from zero, you have 100 percent to grow big and dominate the market.”
Reached for comment, Tiba Abdallah, Tanzanian entrepreneur based in Juba, told this paper over the phone that she saw her opportunity in Juba after the independency declaration whereby she went and explored the market after which, she is among who enjoys the new country’s business opening.
“When South Sudan declared free from north (Sudan - Khartoum), I was so excited as I knew that it was an opportunity for me to make money, I came here and explored the market and found that there is ample opportunities for growing business,” she said.
Abdallah who engages herself in agribusiness, added: “It is almost a year since I started operating here in Juba, for sure what I have earned, is thrice of what I have been earning in Dar es Salaam for same period, and as a result, my business in Juba, has grown big.”
According to the World Bank's recent survey (Doing Business in Juba 2011), out of 183 countries surveyed Juba ranks 159th on the ease of doing business.
It is said that Juba scores relatively high on dealing with construction permits and starting a business, and is ahead of Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria on enforcing contracts and paying taxes, but the report says credit facilities, investor protections, and infrastructure are comparatively weak.