By Ngor Arol Garang
August 19, 2011 (JUBA)- The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) on Monday said it would diversify the economic sector in order to move away oil dependency.
- Minister of Energy and Mining of the Republic of South Sudan, Garang Diing Akuong (Gurtong)
Since the then united Sudan began exporting oil in 1999, the agricultural sector has been neglected and production has declined steadily.
High levels of poverty and food insecurity are found throughout South Sudan.
The 2010 UN World Food Programme report says that in South Sudan nine out ten people live on than less a dollar a day and 3.3 million people, more than a third of the population, are moderately or severely food insecure.
The highest levels of poverty are concentrated in the border states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Unity, according to a 2010 report by the Southern Sudan Center for Census, statistics and Evaluation (SSCCSE) now National Bureaus of Statistics (NBS).
While addressing employees of the ministry during taking of office from his predecessor, Garang Diing Akuong, the former minister of mining and energy, now minister of commerce, industry and investment on Monday explained that South Sudan plans to increase productivity in order expand economic growth and move away from dependency on oil.
“When the global economy was experiencing difficulties before two or three years, the international trade declined because most of the business groups run short of finance. They only returned to the markets when governments from wealthy nations intervened by providing financial aids. This is why the global economy returned to its normality”, explained Akuong.
He warned that foreigners will have undue sway upon South Sudan’s internal affairs if they are the ones controlling markets and that “if you are economically weak you can not be politically strong”.
“By 2015 the oil production will reduce unless exploration and production commences in other blocks like Block B and E, so we need to increase productivity in other sectors like agriculture, trade and supply”, said Akung.