South Sudan business community feel overwhelmed by traders from neighboring countries who have swarmed their country since it separated from Sudan five years ago. And some are petitioning their leaders to protect them from being swept out of business by “foreigners.”
The foreigners are traders from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan who have reportedly dominated trade in many areas of South Sudan. One of the towns where the South Sudanese are complaining loudly is Yei – some 100 kilometers away from capital Juba. The South Sudanese there say all major businesses, including retail shops are controlled and monopolized by foreign traders.
The solution the South Sudanese are offering is partnership with foreign traders which they are demanding should be put in law.
“All factories and companies should partner with the nationals. All the factories should give privileges and access to the locals in the areas of distribution of manufactured goods and commodities than bringing distributors from their own countries of origin,” the Soth Sudanese say in a report published by a local newspaper..
“Factories should create job opportunities to the nationals, particularly the locals than bringing junior staff from their own countries of origin. Any trader who poses wholesale or company should not be allowed to do retail business in Yei,” it further reads.
The local traders also demanded that all the importers should have ware houses for operating their businesses so that wholesalers can buy from them.
Yei’s Municipal Mayor, Cosmas Bidali Wori-Kojo has expressed his council’s commitment to develop a local policy towards equal protection of both local and foreign business people. He said South Sudanese could learn business and cooperative hard work from the foreign traders.
“South Sudanese can learn from the experience other business men on how customers are being handled and taken care of when it comes to business. If you don’t know I must tell you that a customer is a king and boss to your business, without him or her then there is no business,” he remarked.