Innovative online platform seeks diaspora investment in south Sudanese entrepreneurs

Melody Atil (left) and Laura Beny (right) are the co-founders of Peace Dividend, an innovative online lending project targeting mid-sized enterprises in Southern Sudan.
(Diaspora NSV) - A recently launched private initiative, Peace Dividend, is reaching out to diaspora lenders to invest in southern Sudanese entrepreneurs, thanks to Melody Atil and Laura Nyantung Beny,  directors of the organization

Peace Dividend is an online platform that facilitates direct lending by the Southern Sudanese diaspora and other interested parties to promising Southern Sudanese entrepreneurs who lack access to traditional sources of finance (“peer-to-peer” or P2P lending). Peace Dividend’s internet platform ( simultaneously provides access to credit for entrepreneurs and social investment opportunities for the diaspora.  It has a double empowerment effect on Southern Sudanese society.


The initiative is a product of Atil’s and Beny’s professional and personal experiences in Southern Sudan.  Among other things, these experiences enabled them to witness first hand the frustration of hardworking and entrepreneurial men and women who lack access to the capital necessary to grow their enterprises.

Atil and Beny believe that direct finance to enterprising individuals is personal and fosters self-reliance, unlike official aid, which can be highly impersonal and create long-lasting dependencies.  They hope to contribute to sustainable economic growth (through employment generation and enhanced productivity) and thus to conflict reduction in Southern Sudan.

Atil is a financial and private sector specialist with in-depth knowledge of Southern Sudan. She managed the World Bank’s private sector development project for Southern Sudan for nearly two years from Juba (2007-2009). She holds a Masters in Development Economics from the University of Oxford, and is a dual citizen of Switzerland and France.

Beny is Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School in the United States. She has taught on a wide range of subjects including corporate and international finance, company law and business organization. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a B.A. in economics from Stanford University. Laura was born in the Sudan and is a dual citizen of Sudan and the United States.

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