Promoting Agritech in South Sudan: UNITAR Alum Kuena James

  • Kuena James is a South Sudanese entrepreneur who created an agritech app that connects small farmers with rentable farm equipment.
  • James took part in the UNITAR programme Great Ideas Space 2023: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Promoting Health Security and Economic Development.
  • The UNITAR programme taught James how to operationalize his agritech project through skills in project management, accounting and risk management.
  • James was invited to join the study tour and workshop in Japan with the top learners. He was inspired by Hiroshima’s remarkable journey of recovery and success.

Kuena James explaining his project with his fellow participant.

15 May 2024, Hiroshima, Japan – Kuena James Dak, a dedicated South Sudanese entrepreneur, is driven by a passion to uplift the agricultural sector and empower local farmers. His vision is to bridge the gap between technology and agriculture. James works through his agritech venture to empower small- and medium-scale farmers so they can boost their productivity and raise their incomes.


Kuena James doing presentation.

James brings a unique blend of creativity and technical know-how to the table. As well as having experience in film production and graphic design, James is a social worker and an ICT assistant for an NGO that champions livelihood, capacity-building and education for vulnerable communities in Uganda and South Sudan.

For his agritech venture, James developed an app to connect small-scale farmers with those who want to rent their farm tools and land. It is a win-win for both sides: those with idle equipment can monetize their assets while aspiring farmers can kick-start or boost their agricultural ventures. The initiative not only addresses the pressing need for mechanization in South Sudan’s agricultural sector but also provides farmers with affordable access to essential resources.

Some of the challenges that James faces include limited resources, fragmented land ownership and a lack of tech literacy among farmers. But James remains undeterred. He has a team of field agents and service providers to guide local farmers in navigating the app. And he plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and other NGOs, to help realize the immense potential of revolutionizing agriculture in his country.


Graduation photo of the GIS program.

James’s journey took a transformative turn when he responded to a call to join the UNITAR programme Great Ideas Space 2023: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Promoting Health Security and Economic Development. The programme began with online training sessions for 326 learners from South Sudan.

By the end of the online phase, James was selected as one of the top 19 participants and invited to join the in-person training in Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan. The visit to Japan took him to Hiroshima and Tokyo, and James gained invaluable insights into project management, risk mitigation and entrepreneurial resilience.

The UNITAR programme taught James how to operationalize his agritech project. He says he learned not just theory, but practical strategies to keep projects afloat. He plans to mechanize South Sudan’s agriculture using what he learned about project management, accounting for business and risk-taking.

The most memorable experience for James, though, was visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park. James says he was inspired by Hiroshima’s remarkable journey of recovery and success.

We’ve been hearing a lot of stories about the Peace Park and how the Japanese turned things around and became successful after the incident. So when we went there in person, we were inspired to keep on moving and also improve our country just like how Japan did.”-Kuena James (South Sudan), UNITAR alum and agritech entrepreneur

Empowered by his UNITAR experience, James is ready to translate his newfound knowledge into tangible action. With a heartfelt message of gratitude to the Japanese government and people for their support, he is committed to taking decisive steps and creating meaningful change.


Looking to the future, James aspires to ensure that every endeavour he undertakes contributes to the betterment of his country and the world at large. And he calls on fellow entrepreneurs to action.

Let’s take action. As soon as we leave this workshop, let’s go [back to our countries] and take action.”-Kuena James (South Sudan), UNITAR alum and agritech entrepreneur

With determination and perseverance, Kuena James joins the many UNITAR alumni as a beacon of hope, driving positive change and empowering communities through innovation, action by action.

United Nations Online Volunteer Richael Naa Abea Aryeh contributed to this article.


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained over 395,000 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. UNITAR has a global presence, with offices in Geneva, Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.

UNITAR Division for Prosperity offers world-class learning and knowledge-sharing services to present and future change-makers from around the world. Through our innovative training and learning opportunities – built on robust adult learning principles – we seek to promote sustainable, inclusive and just economic development and catalyse the creation of decent employment opportunities for all.

UNITAR Division for Prosperity supports youth and women in particular to address growing inequalities. We work in solidarity with diverse partners at the local, regional and global levels to propel the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and achieve an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world.

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