Juba: September 21, 2011: UAP Group, through its South Sudan subsidiary UAP Insurance Sudan Limited, has entered the South Sudan commercial property market through a joint venture with the Central Equatorial Investments and Development Corporation.
Effectively, the company has begun construction on Equatoria Towers, a 12 storey, ultra modern, landmark commercial office block in Juba, South Sudan, with at an estimated cost of USD15 million.
The Governor of Central Equatoria State, South Sudan, Maj. Gen Clement Wani Konga, broke the ground to signify commencement of the project.
“Today, UAP Group makes a big statement on its commitment to doing business in this country over the long term. When we made the decision to invest in this country in 2005, many stakeholders were worried for us, mainly because the country was emerging from decades of war and peace was fragile. Today we are a happy Board of Directors because our decision has been vindicated,” said UAP Holdings Group Managing Director James Muguiyi.
Mr Muguiyi said UAP was confident about the prospects in the newly created Nation, South Sudan, adding that the company will continue to invest in network expansion, introduction of new products and employment of more Sudanese into the company.
“Real estate and infrastructure development are going to be major economic drivers of this economy in the medium term. Already, there is an increasing need for office blocks and residential houses in many towns in South Sudan due to the growing population of public servants and employees of private and non-governmental organizations,” said Mr Muguiyi.
Governor Konga described UAP’s investment as demonstration of Kenya’s support for the people of South Sudan over the years of struggle for freedom.
“This grand event could not happen at a more opportune moment at the dawn of a new beginning of our Nation’s history. The event also comes at a time when we have just celebrated our long awaited freedom. This grand event is also taking place next to the building which housed the historical Juba Conference of 1947, where we first sought the secession of South Sudan, from the North,” said Maj. Gen Konga.
He continued: “Kenya is more than just a neighbour. They took care of us during the war, they fought for our people and now through UAP, they want to make sure our people leave in peace and dignity. I hope that one of the benefits of this investment shall, of course build strong relations between the two neighbours and the region at large,” said Maj. Gen Konga.
The project will cost USD15 million and will be managed by a joint venture company, UAP Properties Limited, owned jointly by UAP Insurance South Sudan and Central Equatoria Investment and Development Corporation, the investment arm the Central Equatoria State.
“I note with great satisfaction that the partnership between the State represented by the Investment Authority and the UAP Insurance is a solid one which will not only be further cemented by the achievement of this huge project, but shall strive for higher achievements ahead. As a Government, we shall continue to and endeavour to provide unique avenues for sustainable investment opportunities to all potential investors such as UAP Insurance and many others for the transformation and the advancement of our people,” said Maj. Gen Konga
Maj Gen Konga called upon the private sector players in South Sudan and in particular, the Central Equatoria State, to take advantage of the partnership with UAP Insurance, its wide presence in the East African region and their entrepreneurial spirit, as they seek to spread their wings in the East African region.
Besides the Equatoria Tower, UAP Insurance Sudan is also implementing a real estate project in Juba comprising of 15 2 bed-roomed high quality apartments at an estimated cost of USD 3.2 million. The apartments will house UAP clients, staff and will also be available for commercial rental in support of the demand for quality housing in Juba.
“This development is a private initiative financed by UAP Insurance Sudan Ltd and reflects our strong commitment to invest in this country. And to show our long term commitment to this country and to position ourselves for future growth, we moved to our new offices at the end of last month. The offices are more spacious and conducive for improved customer service and are situated in a more serine area than where UAP has been since 2006,” said Mr Muguiyi.
When complete, Equatorial Towers will reflect high standards of architecture and provide a reference point for future property developments in South Sudan.
UAP was registered in South Sudan in 2005 almost immediately following the signing of the Collective Peace Agreement (CPA), becoming the first foreign insurance company to be licensed by the Bank of South Sudan. The company has spearheaded the development and deepening of the insurance services in the country.
“We have introduced unique products such as health and aviation insurance which were not available in the local market before. Our insurance services offer protection for both life and property thereby providing the peace of mind and economic freedom to allow the citizens of this country, both individual and corporate to concentrate on the noble task of nation building,” said UAP Insurance Sudan Managing Director Patrick Kanyingi.
So far UAP Insurance Sudan has branches in 7 out of the 10 states of South Sudan including Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jongloei, Unity, Western Bahr Gazal, and Lakes.
The Company plans to open a branch in Malakal, Upper Nile State before the end of the year.