Juba, South Sudan,
June 11, 2021 – The governments of South Sudan and Malawi have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at boosting agriculture and inter-border trade between the two countries.
This comes after representatives from the two countries met in the capital Juba Thursday to strike a deal, which also seeks to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.
The MOU also seeks to break the national frontiers to create unrestricted access to opportunities for women and youths in the two countries.
South Sudan’s Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. Koul Athian, who signed the deal on behalf of the government of South Sudan said the MOU came at a crucial time.
“It will [the MOU] help us a lot. Our regional partners have been helping us a lot, but Malawi has come, this will rescue our current economic situation,” he said. “We have our women, our youth whom we need to empower.”
The MOU provides that the ministry of trade from the two countries empowers business people by creating a safe and enabling environment for trade.
Malawi is a large producer and exporter of maize in Southern Africa with over a million tons in surplus annually. South Sudan seeks to take advantage of this opportunity.
Mr. Sosten Alfred, Malawian Minister of Trade who signed on behalf of his government said his country consumes 3 million tons out of the 4 million tons of maize it produces.
“Malawi has a lot of surplus of agriculture commodities – we produced about 4 million tons of maize this season and we only consumed about 3 million. Now we have 1 million tons which really must find a market somewhere,” Mr. Alfred said.
Alfred said other products including groundnuts, coffee, rice, and sugar will be among a set of commodities Malawi could export to South Sudan in the next months.
Mr. Alfred said the agreement was a reflection of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which allows borderless trade among African countries.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area teaches us that we now need to look beyond just our neighbors alone, just our region. We need now to look at Africa as one market, one people. It is in that spirit that I and my delegation came to South Sudan,” he said.
Malawi, a country that does not produce oil, seeks to benefit from South Sudan petroleum products which Mr. Alfred said Malawians were looking forward to welcoming potential South Sudanese investors into the oil sector.
South Sudanese Minister Athian called on traders and investors in South Sudan to start trading with Malawians and create employment for thousands of jobless youths in the country.
He said the MOU will improve food insecurity that and has placed millions of South Sudanese on the edge of catastrophic hunger, according to multiple humanitarian reports.
“South Sudan has been in war for almost ten years now and we have not been producing anything due to insecurity which resulted to shortage of food items in the market.
“We have been importing from our neighbors and far beyond Africa to rescue our situation in South Sudan, but Malawi has seen our situation and comes to rescue us,” said Mr. Athian.