Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on Banking in South Sudan

We've written a few outlines on the banking industry in Southern Sudan on this blog. It is still an under serviced industry with inevitable growth and plenty of room for investment.

Here's a Gurtong banking story that gives some decent background on the banks operating in South Sudan today. Read the article here.

South Sudan Government and Business Stakeholders Call for Review of Taxation Procedures

Good article from Gurtong on the trouble with taxes in Southern Sudan. For those unaware, the Government of National Unity in Khartoum, the Government of Southern Sudan, the individual sates and local municipalities have the ability to impose taxes. Often, all do so making the cost of doing business expensive and driving up the cost of living.

It is a good development that the GOSS is meeting with business leaders to discuss the problem of double and even triple taxation, and what to do about it. I'd rate this as a major step forward. Let's see if they can build and maintain some momentum on this. Read the article here for more.

Sudan Election Documents and Timelines

The proposed timeline for the elections is here. What proposed means, in this environment, is that things are always subject to change.

The National Election Act of 2008 is here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GOSS and US Govt Sign $203 Million New Grant Deal

A long time in the works, the GOSS and USAID signed an agreement on a new development grant (not a loan, a grant). The $203 million grant will focus on a few cherry picked programs; womens' education, health issues that deal with malaria and such, and some ambiguous governance and elections issues.

We're a proponent of development aid, as long as it fosters the fragile economic conditions of an environment like Southern Sudan's. Inundations of food aid, and other free commodities, removal of the most productive individuals from the labor pool for unproductive aid project "administration", etc., all retard local economies.

For example, the prolonged (and still underway) inundation of food aid has almost killed off South Sudan's indigenous agricultural production. Why would local farmers clear and farm land when others give food and food products for free? An unintended consequence of food aid being applied too long and too generously, certainly, but a stark reminder that not every "solution" is a solution.

We'll look for the link to the whole agreement and post it later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Two Sudans are Better Than One - The Weekly Standard.

TWS is a widely-read weekly news/politics magazine in the US. Yes, it has a decidedly conservative tilt, but its editorials and features are well argued, concise and timely.

Speaking of timely, check out its analysis on the north/south situation. The article, I think, represents the first major pronouncement/article that spells out a rational argument for succession by the south.

Read it here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

GOSS Cabinet reshuffle

Business and politics observers have been itching for a cabinet reshuffle within GOSS for some time. Financial and security mis-steps have caused justifiable concerns in the past 6 months, and have provided a few distractions for the GOSS when they have larger issues to deal with (elections, Darfur, Khartoum in general). This personnel change is a very strong start toward a government providing Southern Sudan with the service it needs.

Here's the reshuffle list.

A further point of explanation is necessary when looking at the GOSS cabinet; the country is a multicultural, multi tribal, and multi lingual -- the cabinet must reflect these realities and ensure that all groups from all areas are represented substantially in the leadership. It is my opinion that the best candidates were assigned the portfolios that needed their competent attention.