Authorities in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, have engaged the high gear in a bid to lure investments.

This, even as people savour new-found independence, two months after officially separating from the Khartoum government.

On the streets of its capital city, Juba, there is relative calm though some business people are concerned about crime, particularly at night.

“We close at 9.30 pm strictly to have time to go home. You cannot venture out during some hours in this town because of the bayayis (muggers),” says a hotel attendant at Hamza. He did not want to be named for fear of reprisals.

Companies are, however, queuing to set up shop, some new, others expanding operations, having taken risk to establish a foothold in the country after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 that was the road map to Independence, attained on July 9, 2011.

UAP Insurance is among the companies seeking a piece of Juba. Last week it laid ground for establishment of real estate development targeting office blocks and residential houses.

In a joint venture with the Central Equitoria Investments and Development Corporation, the insurer, will construct a 12-storey commercial block to be known as Equitoria Towers at a cost of $15 million.

The company is also implementing a real estate project comprising 15 units two bed-roomed apartments at $3.2 million.

The governor of Central Equitoria State, Major General Clement Wani Konga, officiated the launch of the two projects last week.

Other visible Kenyan brands are Kenya Commercial Bank and Equity Bank that have branches in the city.

“This grand project could not happen at a more opportune moment at the dawn our nation’s history.

“The event also comes at a time when we have just celebrated our long waited freedom.

“This project is also taking place next to the building which housed historical Juba Conference of 1947, where we first sought secession of southern Sudan, from the North,” said Mr Konga.

The public is, however, grappling with high cost of commodities, with a packet of Unga going for equivalent Sh240.

Other commodities are equally expensive, most imported from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

At Queen Sheba, an upmarket restaurant owned by Ethiopians, a bottle of Tusker Lager goes for the equivalent of Sh180.

Chinese construction companies have set up camp in the city, with the anticipated more road and building works.

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