Peace Opens Up Economic Frontier in South Sudan Countryside

The story of Mohammed Yoysef Omar’s quick livelihood development is an interesting one. It is equally propelled by the relative peace in South Sudan and his access to business.
Mohammed Yoysef Omar (closer to camera) in his shop in Minkaman

By Awan Achiek

The story of Mohammed Yoysef Omar’s quick livelihood development is an interesting one. It is equally propelled by the relative peace in South Sudan and his access to business.

Working as a shop attendant and earning 700 South Sudanese Pounds 9 years ago, the 32 year old is now master of his own business worth millions of South Sudanese Pounds in Mingkaman town in Awerial County of Lakes State.

Omar’s story started with getting employment in an electronic shop in Juba in 2014, when South Sudan was simmering in crisis, and learnt the trade basically from scratch.

“I worked for that person for nearly 8 months and after making some money, I left the work and I move to Mingkaman where I set up my own business with SSP 5,000 in 2015,” he told The Dawn in an interview.

Omar’s shop in Mingkaman sells mobile phones, TV sets, charging equipment, speakers and microphones among many other electronic accessories.

“I have now opened up my own electronic shop and I have employed somebody to help me in selling the products,” he proudly points out. “I pay him SSP 21,000 monthly and SSP 1,000 daily for his lunch.”

Omar only owns a Sudan Secondary Certificate but through hard work, even constructed a house in Khartoum and sold it off for profit to boost his business.

“I am not the only one benefiting from my business,” he said.

“I am taking care of my family members, I am helping my siblings in education and my parents and my relatives.”

Omar singles out the relative peace in South Sudan for his success.

“We are benefiting a lot from this relative peace in the country as businessmen, we can now move freely with our goods, and our businesses are doing well with the relative peace in the country,” he said.

A peace implementation in South Sudan is providing space for people like Omar to partake of developing themselves, a life filling adventure that the government advocates for in the country.

Many countries in the world, picking from the Chinese experience of poverty alleviation have embraced policies that provide individuals the upper hand in their own developments and resultantly spurring their countries’ economies.

China is the world’s largest developing country, with a population of 1.4 billion. In addition to its weak foundations and uneven development, the nation had long been plagued by poverty at a scale and a level of severity that has rarely been seen anywhere else in the world.

According to excerpts on Xinhua, China’s State-owned media, the battle against poverty is a profound revolution and complete victory on both material and theoretical level. Through this battle, the mindset of the poor has been enriched and sublimed – they have greater confidence, more active minds, and higher aspirations; they have experienced a thorough transformation from the inside to the outside.

It says the impoverished have a deep desire to rid themselves of the shackles of poverty and achieve prosperity. The poverty relief efforts have not only widened channels for the impoverished to improve their material welfare but rekindled their desire to seek a better life as well.

Impoverished people have been inspired to seek prosperity through hard work, self-reliance, frugality and entrepreneurship, and strive for excellence. They are highly motivated and have more confidence about getting rid of poverty. As the Chinese people always say, “Good days come after hard work” and they are ready to compete in the race to prosperity.

China’s experience in poverty alleviation indicates that courage, vision, sense of responsibility, and the eagerness to take on challenges are the most essential. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.

Plans to dominate supply of electronic products are on already on Omar’s mind and is already mulling to supply other retailers with gadgets more cheaply.

“I want to expand my business. I want to be a wholesaler who will be supplying other retailers with electoral products,” he said.

He is sponsoring a younger sister at University, two others in secondary and five brothers in primary school.

“I advise anybody who wants to be a businessman to start small and work hard to grow into a big businessman and work for a brighter future and be able to help your family and the community,” Omar said.

According to Philip Mawut Garang, the Commissioner of Awerial, peace agreement being implemented in the country has not only restored security but also boosted trade in his County.

“People are enjoying relative peace in Awerial County and theft, fighting and other criminal activities have reduced and people are living peacefully in my area,” Garang said, noting that sports activities have replaced violence.

Garang said traders are relishing the peace and are able to move freely and conduct business in the county.

“The environment is conducive for business in Mingkaman and businessmen are doing well and the businesses are progressing well due to relative peace in the area.”

Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin Buolo, the Spokesman for the South Sudan National Police Service also echoes Garang in acknowledging the atmosphere currently in the country.

“During war people got displaced and as a result of displacement, fear and trauma, some passed through a very difficult time, especially women and children, they suffered but now the situation has completely changed, everybody has returned to his or place and everything is secure,” Buolo told The Dawn.

“Many people have returned to their normal life, going about their offices and the market and businesses and this is the difference we are seeing in the agreement following the signing of the peace deal,” Buolo said.

“With peace now, new markets have come up and people are doing their businesses normally and the old markets were repaired and roads are safe, you can move from one location to another without any problem,” he said.

“With the relative peace, people have managed to take their children to school and a lot of things have happened and generally, the people are feeling it and they are very happy about it.”

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