Rumbek’s ‘Jack of All Trades’ Thrives on Peace for Big Money Return   

Nyarkajos Samuel Amule in his simple but lucrative shop in Rumbek. Photo by Juol Madhal

By Juol Madhal

Nyarkajos Samuel Amule juggles with a shop, construction company and agriculture production in order to make ends meet, a ‘jack of all trades’ yet quite a master in them all.

The 45-year-old husband and father of five is held highly in Rumbek, capital of South Sudan’s Lakes State when it comes to hard work and his company’s name simply speaks it out in volumes, “Fountain Flourish.”

A secret he reveals for his financial successes is believing in a peaceful environment to thrive.

“The peace has been good in promoting business,” Amule told The Dawn in an interview from Rumbek.

“We buy our items from Uganda, others from Juba, the roads are okay now,” he said.

The beginning of Amule was humble, way back before South Sudan independence, retailing tea leaves and sugar in a little shop, now going on to own a shop, commercial agricultural seed store and his construction company.

He explained to The Dawn; “I started a small business, then I moved to utensils, then I opened an agricultural seed store, and for building materials.”

“The hardware business helped me to grow my business because there’s a lot of construction work,” he said.

Such construction works are either rebuilding or erecting new ones as South Sudan enjoys relative peace and security after years of crisis.

There was 22 years of a liberation, then a conducive lull which led to independence in 2011 before the country hit the warpath again.

It began in 2013 and left hundreds of thousands of people dead, displaced millions others and left the country’s economy in tatters.

Implementation of a peace deal reached in 2018 between warring parties ongoing in the country has stopped the fighting and ushered in relative peace and security.

Backlash from the crisis South Sudan underwent after independence however never deterred Amule from his goal.

He recalls the challenges during the heights of the crisis; “there was a time when the roads were bad and it would take a week or two for your goods to reach Rumbek.”

Currently he operates a budget over $500, 000 a month in construction when on a construction contract.

Nyarkajos Samuel Amule walks around the front of his shop. Photo by Juol Madhal

Amule has worked with the International Rescue Committee in setting up staffs’ accommodation. He has also been contracted to renovate the State hospital in Rumbek.

His ‘step by step’ financial development, right from the beginning, was through a personal strategy Amule developed in his mind.

“My strategy of growth was that I put a certain limit in each step of my business. I started with $5000 then I moved to another business when it reached $18,000. Because I cannot keep money, after getting from one type I shift to another type of business,” he said.

Amule’s personal story helps us to reflect much on what has lifted millions of people around the world out of poverty.

China, a middle income country four decades ago is now a subject of global discussions around poverty eradication.

Last year, the Far East nation was acknowledged for having undergone a “miracle” in pulling over 800 million people out of poverty within 40 years.

With it, China has contributed close to three-quarters of the global reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty, the World Bank said in a statement in April 2022, with a drop in the country’s poverty rate from 66.3 percent to just 0.3 percent.

The growth of the private sector was one of the main reasons for the achievement.

The International Poverty Reduction Center in China reported lifting more than 850 million of its people out of poverty from 1981 to 2013. During that time period, extreme poverty decreased from 88 percent to 1.85 percent. To achieve a 0 percent poverty rate, China is using extensive expertise in helping Chinese nationals who reside in poorer regions. The current poverty rate of 1.7 percent primarily encompasses those in poor rural regions. 

In South Sudan, individuals like Amule are already ensuring they emulate what is going on in China. South Sudan’s development policies, just like China’s, encourages individual developments.

Amule employees eight people to help tend to his businesses.

“I’m now looking for permanent assets to acquire so that I can benefit from it in my old age,” he said.

Amule relishes personal endeavors to develop, especially in business.

“Business is a journey, a venture that one must learn to carry the risk, with many challenges,” he said.

“You may bring things or start a business and a giant person will shift to that business and sell things at a lower price, but you must not lose hope because there will always be people to support you.”

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