World Bank grants $9m to support businesses in South Sudan
South Sudan is to receive $9 million (€6.8 million) from the World Bank to increase access to finance for entrepreneurs.This is the first grant of this kind the country has received since it gained independence in July 2011 and the agreement was signed in the capital Juba last week, the Sudan Tribune reports.
While microfinance institutions will provide money to 50,000 individuals, some 100 businessmen and women will be able to access funding through a Business Plan Competition (BPC).
World Bank Country Director for South Sudan Laura Kullenberg said: "The development of the private sector is crucial to provide economic opportunities and improve the livelihoods of unemployed youth and returnees."
It is also hoped the scheme will create up to 250 jobs as enterprises receive support from the BPC.
South Sudan's Finance Minister Kosti Manibe suggested private sector development will help to diversify the economy.
Gross domestic product is expected to grow by 7.2 per cent in 2012 and last year, the International Finance Corporation introduced the second phase of its Investment Climate Reform Program, which aims to increase access to finance for small to medium-sized enterprises.