Juba, 12th April 2018 - The Ministry of Trade, Industry and East Africa Community (EAC) Affairs hosted the opening ceremony of the validation workshop of South Sudan Trade Policy (TPF) this Thursday 12 April 2018 at Juba Regency Hotel. The TPF was prepared with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), a multi-donor global partnership for developing countries; EIF is a process established to support LDCs governments in trade capacity building and the integration of trade issues into overall national development strategies.
Mr. Stephen Doctor Matatia, Director General of External Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs, opened the ceremony: “This trade policy is very important for South Sudan: it is a compass to guide us in the right direction. We are going to make trades not only with Africa but with the whole world.”
In 2016, South Sudan became a full member of the East African Community (EAC), and in 2017 obtained the observer status with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The integration process to EAC advanced further in late 2017, with the adoption of the Integration Roadmap to the EAC and formulation of the list of priority projects for period 2017-2020.
Mr. Lealem Berhanu Dinku, Programme Advisor representing UNDP Country Director, pursued: “Resilience building is [for UNDP] one of the most important mean to accelerate development. (…) We hope the trade policy framework will provide additional incentive for a more stable country, create a safer environment for trade, help reach food security and be a founding act for development partners.”
“UNDP has been supporting the government of South Sudan for long, one of our support is enhancing the capacities of South Sudan in trade development policies, and many different ones: public finance movement, resilience and capacity building, access to justice, peace and reconciliation, livelihoods stabilization, etc. This trade capacity development is one of the area UNDP is committed to support in its capacity building program.”
As this ambitious trade and regional integration agenda rapidly develop, it became even more urgent to review and update the South Sudan TPF to focus on the new requirements. The review recognizes the fragility of South Sudan economy and institutions and provides recommendations to gradually, improve trade infrastructure and environment so the country would be able to benefit more from the EAC membership.
Honourable. MOU MOU Athian Kuol, Undersecretary of EAC Affairs/Chief Guest representing the Minister, Ministry of Trade, Industry and East Africa Community (EAC) Affairs, ended these opening remarks with the link between trade, peace and development: “If you really need peace, go for trade. If you need development, go for trade. If you need connections, go for trade. (…) Trade is essential to South Sudan, given our landmark country. This trade policy will help us diversifying our economy. We have only one resource: oil, which puts us in a dependency situation. With this trade policy framework, we will be able to produce goods for our domestic market and for external ones.”
The Trade Policy Framework provides a set of coordinated programmes for strengthening the supply side of the economy to increase food security and produce products tradable on domestic, EAC and international markets. It also includes measures for improving trade environment and facilitating trade.
“We can learn a lot from these best practices to reform our trade system and align it with EAC system and international standards. This trade policy is designed to provide a sense of direction and to build our trade system as well as an agenda for cooperation between international institutions and development partners. But before they [our development partners] can help us, we need to help ourselves.”, concluded MOU MOU Athian Kuol.