South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Thursday to discuss bilateral cooperation between the states. The foreign minister of the African country described the talks as “very successful.”
South Sudan has invited Russian enterprises to explore the country in many areas, including for oil, the state’s Foreign Minister James Pitia Morgan told Sputnik Africa in an exclusive interview.
“The country is not being explored, and we are inviting the Russian companies to carry out exploration in the areas of oil, in the areas of minerals, in areas of agriculture and the industrialization of South Sudan through the construction of hydroelectricity that we have. Up to now this has never been done, and this visit is an open way for many companies in Russia to come to South Sudan and do what they feel they can do in our country,” the minister said.
The top diplomat added that one of the goals of Kiir’s visit to Russia was to declare the African country’s openness for cooperation in business.
“We have come here to tell our brothers and friends and sisters in Russia that South Sudan is open for business and that areas of oil is just a small portion of it. But there are so many other things that the Russian companies are openly invited to explore South Sudan in so many areas. The oil sector is just what we have now,” he noted.
Speaking about measures that have already been taken to enhance economic cooperation between the countries, Morgan revealed that an agreement has been signed with a Russian firm, which will carry out minerals and oil exploration in the African state.
“As I said from the beginning that this is our first very important visit to Russia. A few minutes ago, I signed a contract with a company which will be coming to South Sudan, and that is the beginning of how we are going to work together. That company is mainly interested in minerals and oil exploration. We also have a company that will be working,” the foreign minister stressed.
In addition, the top diplomat mentioned that there are enterprises that plan to examine the possibility of building up hydroelectricity production in South Sudan.
“You know that the longest river in the world is passing at our backyards, the Nile. So we have companies that are going also to study how we can construct hydroelectricity in South Sudan. This is the beginning,” he highlighted.
Morgan also underlined that the African country “gave the green light” for Russian companies to operate in different spheres, to come to the state and assess the opportunities there.
“By the visit of these companies to South Sudan, they will be able to see exactly what they want to do in South Sudan. We have given them the green light to come. We have opened the way for any Russian company to come to South Sudan. Some will come and carry out the feasibility studies, some will come and take the seismic imaging of the minerals under the ground and some will come and see the feasibility studies of how they construct their dams. And some will do that in the area of industrialization,” the foreign minister emphasized.
Moreover, the top diplomat is convinced that there will be “a lot of activities between Juba and Moscow in the coming few months, if not weeks from now.”
As for the Russian corporations that are already working in South Sudan, in late July the country’s Mining Minister Martin Gama Abucha revealed that Russian state-owned mining holding RosGeo was expected to complete a geological survey in order to create a geological map of the African country.
Nevertheless, during the meeting with Kiir on September 28, Putin noted that in the field of economic partnership between South Sudan and Russia “much remains to be done.”