Feature: S. Sudanese youth harness entrepreneurial skills to escape poverty amid economic slowdown

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-19 01:53:43|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JUBA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of youth from South Sudan have defied economic meltdown in their strife-torn country to engage in entrepreneurship and tackle debilitating poverty.

The resilient young entrepreneurs have nurtured a business zeal that is unprecedented to enable them to break the yoke of unemployment and poverty.

Speaking to Xinhua recently in Juba, the young entrepreneurs said that although many successful foreign businessmen are afraid of investing in the country, due to conflict, they are determined to bet their windfall on business and liberate themselves from poverty.

Michael Aheet Kuch, 28 years old and a 2008 diploma graduate in Rural Development from Nile Institute of Management Studies, Arua-Uganda (NIMSA), said he briefly worked under two supervisors where he got inspired into business in 2012.

The young businessman was dressed in a casual outfit in his small confined office with an HP laserjet printer, scanner and one computer desk told Xinhua that his zeal for doing business was to be self-reliant as opposed to looking for white collar jobs.

He said he wanted to be free so that his entrepreneurial instincts can hunt the business horizon for money-spinning opportunities; he registered his business printing company in 2015 called Interlink Solutions.

"My clients are Non-government Organization (NGOs), individuals that need printing materials like IDs, business cards, general logistic handling supply, including corporate and non-corporate items," he said.

The ambitious entrepreneur disclosed his desire to explore new possibilities and he is determined to build an empire that will employ approximately 150-200 youths in the next five years.

"I need to work hard so that my dream of owning one of the biggest printing companies that will create jobs to youths in South Sudan is achieved," said Kuch.

He revealed that his business turnover monthly is 500 U.S. dollars after excluding 30 percent that goes to his personal and business expenditures.

"The business is sustaining me, family members and I have saved enough for future investment," said Kuch.

Although practicing multiple income generating activities is rare among young South Sudanese youths, Kuch is an exception.

Thuch Samuel Ajok is another strong willed entrepreneur with ability to spot opportunities while many do not.

"Since 1997, I have been involved in money making activities. I first started with making of local stools out of logs. In 1998, I upgraded to buying and selling of goats and cows to individuals or butchers," Ajok told Xinhua.

But the 27-year-old did not just stop there, his quest for better opportunities made him quit and join trading business where he deals in food commodities and beverages as a way to guarantee his economic dividend, but later shifts into dealing in telecommunication products.

"I am comfortable with this business because it is a service business where I deliver services to people and ease their communications," said Ajok.

While doing business he has been educating himself until his studies were halted in 2015, as a second year university student, studying Business Administration and Accounting from St. Lawrence University-Kampala due to financial constraint.

"As a business oriented person, I opened up a business in 2016 that deals in recharge cards that do not demand hard currency before telecommunication companies operating in the country shift into electronic recharge after 2016 conflict," he recounted.

He said the business is helping him and his family where he now realizes monthly income of approximately 3,000 to 5,000 dollars, depending on sells he made from the setup.

Ajok explained that he has employed six workers to help him monitor his sub-contractors to avoid being cheated, where he pays each nearly 80 dollars monthly.

A spot-check by Xinhua revealed that the electronic recharge system introduced by the three telecommunication companies in the country namely, Vivacell, MTN, Zain has become the lucrative business youths who earn a living through the bonus offered by the companies.