South Sudan’s public and private sector energy stakeholders pledged to support youth empowerment and capacity building efforts during a local content panel on Friday, organized at the South Sudan Oil & Power 2023 conference.

Home to one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations, South Sudan has long endeavored to extend the economic and social benefits of oil extraction to its local population, though the country continues to face high unemployment rates, with its petroleum sector largely dominated by foreign companies from China and Malaysia.

“It cannot be possible that South Sudan’s largest revenue earner is not benefitting South Sudan’s largest demographic,”

Animu A. Risasi | Founder & CEO of the Animu Athiei Foundation

Offering a solution to this reality, Risasi continued: “The Youth Enterprise Development Fund is a key entry point for the development of young people within the oil and gas industry, which is very capital intensive. We propose putting aside $1 per barrel for young businesses, in order to contribute to the seed capital from which young people can benefit.”

In terms of state-sponsored efforts to train and upskill the youth population, Nile Petroleum Corporation (NILEPET) has been aiming to build human resource capabilities within the oil and gas sector through its designating training center.

“We have a NILEPET center in which we conduct all of our training. The aim is to ensure that we graduate geologists, financial experts and engineers that are not only going to be concentrated in South Sudan, but also in the region,” said Achol Mayen Deng, Section Head for Assets of NILEPET.

In addition to generating employment opportunities, it was emphasized that engaging the youth population both within the hydrocarbons sector and related service industries can represent a key pathway to diversification.

“Within employment, we need to see South Sudanese across all levels. Then, we should move from just employment, to skills development, to local industry promotion. The issue of diversification within South Sudan is a problem,” stated Charles Judo, Chairman of the Civil Society Coalition on Natural Resources.

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