The five-day agricultural exhibition, an annual event dubbed "Made in South Sudan," kicked off Tuesday in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Igga, South Sudan's vice president in charge of economic cluster, said South Sudanese should be innovative and productive, adding that the country’s economic difficulties can be tackled through diversifying business opportunities.
"The international business has gone to internet, and we must think internet even we in South Sudan. You in your small factory or even your small shop try and have internet to facilitate your work. We call it digitalization. This is important; it makes things easier for you. You do not need to employ more people, and therefore, it lessens the cost of carrying out business. Within 24 hours you can do a lot rather than to the old way of doing it manually. So we are here to encourage internet use, e-commerce," Igga said.
The vice president advised traders to venture into agriculture to produce food instead of complaining about prices of goods in the market.
"South Sudan can produce and trade on variety of products, such as gum arabic. It is like gold, and we have plenty of it in Renk here — a lot of it — but now it is the Sudan exporting it and calling it 'Sudan gum arabic.' Yet, it is the South Sudan gum arabic," he said.
Titus Osundina, the United Nations Development (UNDP) deputy resident representative, assured South Sudan’s ministry of trade and industry that U.N. stands ready to support the country.
"UNDP believes trade plays a critical role in building peace. Therefore, inclusive development that facilitates producer-market linkages makes great contributions. Connecting producers to processors and markets creates a network of businesses and generates more employment and livelihood opportunities," Osundina said.
The chairperson of Association of South Sudan Manufacturers, Adam Kubanja, said the exhibition is an important event to the private sector, adding that investors skeptical about South Sudan should come and visit the country.
"South Sudan initially has been depicted as a volatile nation. South Sudan has been having a narrative as a nation which is full of hostilities, but look at us today sitting here, showing the world that South Sudan is a productive nation, and we have a lot commodities to showcase and change that narrative and notion that South Sudan is volatile," he said.
Kubanja requested the office of the vice president schedule a meeting for the manufacturers and the private sector to discuss South Sudan's multiple taxes imposed on traders.