Ernst and Young has become the second of the big four global accounting firms to open shop in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, to tap emerging opportunities.
The financial advisory services company said in a statement released in Nairobi that it was eyeing opportunities in financial, oil and gas, mining and agricultural sectors as well deals from donor community and the Government.
It now joins Deloitte as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) assess their success chances.
Ernst & Young’s managing partner for Africa Ajen Sita said regional expansion was part of the company’s investment plan.
”Investment into a new country office practice bears testament to the firm’s commitment to the African growth story, and ensuring that we provide seamless, consistent and high quality services to our clients,”Sita said.
Kenyan Patrick Kamau has been seconded to head the new office in the oil-rich country.
He will be leading a team of two partners and staff that include some of South Sudanese nationals who have been trained in Nairobi’s office-the company’s regional hub- the statement added.
The London-headquartered firm has reassured it will continue training more locals to take up functional and administrative roles in the medium to long term period.
“Given the unexploited mineral wealth, mainly in oil extraction, South Sudan has the potential to be a substantial market in the next few years,” Kamau said.
The office will also better serve the auditing firm’s clients who have already expanded to that country and newly acquired ones.
The company cited United Nations Development Programme,World Vision, Nile Commercial Bank(South Sudan), Equity Bank Group(of Kenya) and MTN as some of its clients already operating in Juba.
Others include Charter One Bank, Plan International, International Community Bank, South Sudan Law Society, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, PETRONAS Marketing Ventures and KIVA.
Ernst & Young Chairman and chief executive for Eastern Africa Gitahi Gichahi said the new office will further help attract more investors especially from five-nation East Africa Community into the fledgling economy.
“We also look forward to growing and developing the skills and knowledge of the people,” he added. “This will ensure we are leading from the front by contributing to economic growth of the country.”
With the entry into South Sudan, the company is now present in 33 countries across Africa.