Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrived in South Sudan Monday to open a bank, a rare public return to the financial world since a dramatic fall from grace after a sex scandal two years ago.
“I believe that a country like South Sudan deserves some special attention,” he told reporters at the airport after his arrival, saying he would open a new bank, named as the National Credit Bank (NCB), as well as assess the investment opportunities in the impoverished country.
“It is a new country and still with a lot of economic and political problems....it wants to have the full opportunity for development and business,” Strauss-Kahn said at the start of a two-day visit.
Little is known about the NCB bank, although officials said it is a Swiss-backed private venture launched in cooperation with South Sudanese partners.
Straus-Kahn was greeted at the airport by South Sudan's Minister of Commerce Garang Diing.
“This visit is very important to us... especially in relation to investment attraction to South Sudan,” Diing said.
“He wants to see how South Sudan is prospering in terms of peace, stability, democracy and economic performance,” Diing added.
The one-time French presidential hopeful and former head of the International Monetary Fund, Strauss-Kahn resigned from his post after New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo accused him of sexual assault in May 2011.
In August 2011, prosecutors dropped criminal charges, declaring that Diallo was not a credible witness.
Strauss-Kahn quickly returned to France even though the maid maintained a civil suit, later settled after Strauss-Kahn agreed a financial settlement.
Oil-rich but grossly under-developed South Sudan is the world's youngest country, after splitting from former civil war foes north Sudan in July 2011, following an overwhelming vote for independence six months earlier.
Development since independence has been stalled after South Sudan closed down the oil production that accounted for 98 percent of government revenue last year in a furious dispute with Sudan, only resuming production last month.
Rebellion, ethnic conflict and hunger affect large parts of the country, left in ruins by nearly five decades of civil war.