Group of young entrepreneurs stand in white and organge shirts
South Sudanese women hold box with new sprayer
South Sudanese women hold box with new sprayer and water can

Youth entrepreneurs in South Sudan unlock new sources of financing

6 December 2023
ITC News

Sentina Agustino, Hamjuma John, and Rita John were unable to obtain individual loans due to a lack of collateral. So the International Trade Centre (ITC) trained them on financial management skills. The programme then connected them to microfinance institutions in South Sudan in order to assist them in accessing finance and growing their business.

The three have been selling fruits and vegetables at the Yambio Open Market in South Sudan for four years. In order to grow their business and purchase a tricycle to transport their products, Sentina and Hamjuma prepared a business plan and applied for a loan. However, the loan fell through for unknown reasons.

Unwilling to give up, they sought to improve their business management skills. They were assessed and selected by ITC to participate in youth entrepreneurship training and mentorship sessions.

Equipped with improved financial and business knowledge, they were motivated and wanted to obtain a loan to expand their operations. However, since they lacked collateral, they were unable to access financing. The three of them teamed up and called themselves the Wenepai Group. They then sought ITC’s help to obtain a group loan wherein each of them would stand as guarantors for the other’s repayment of the loan. ITC linked them up with a microfinance institution called Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI), who granted a loan of SSP 300,000 (about $280) to the Wenepai Group.

As a result of learning about new sources of financing through the market linkage created by ITC, Sentina, Hamjuma, and Rita are now able to access loans despite lacking collateral. They invested the money into buying more stock such as tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes, and carrots – all of which have a high demand in the market. The size of their stock has now increased by 75% and they are also seeing an increase in daily income from SSP 5,000-10,000 (about $5-10) to SSP 15,000-20,000 ($15-20).

About the Project

The International Trade Centre’s South Sudan Jobs Creation and Trade Development project aims to increase the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and employment opportunities for the South Sudanese population engaged in the fruit and vegetable subsector.

The European Union-funded project contributes to addressing the value addition, competitiveness, job creation and trade development challenges of South Sudan. Specifically, the interventions of the project are expected to improve productive capacities and compliance to standards for MSMEs, increase market linkages for MSMEs and enhance employability and entrepreneurship capacity for the South Sudanese labour force, focussing on youth and women.