World's newest country: future of South Sudan tied to efficacy of foreign aid
Western- and UN-backed aid organizations have lined up to support the fledgling Republic of South Sudan, but the challenges facing the nation 'would tax even the most developed of countries.'
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But it's a two-way street, and corruption within the new government over the past six years does not bode well for the immediate future, as the prospect of an influx of more petrodollars and aid money is soon to be a reality.Skip to next paragraph
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As if the challenges of delivering on promises to the population currently in the south wasn't enough, UN officials are beginning to warn of a brewing humanitarian crisis due to the massive and steady influx of southerners who are returning from northern Sudan in part because of fear of harassment by the Khartoum government in the aftermath of southern secession.
The UN estimates 1,000 people per day are arriving back in the south, putting added strain on the limited resources in southern towns near the border, where tens of thosuands have already arrived since the south's independence vote in January.
A need for transparency
Experts say that all the hurdles in the way of implementing a range of development projects will multiply if the government is not open in disclosing its policies
Ian Bannon, the acting country director for South Sudan at the World Bank, told reporters on Monday in Juba that he hopes the government will make good on the words of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in his independence day speech, which stressed "transparency and open government" as priorities for the new south.
"People need to feel that they are part of the decisions being made by their leaders," said Mr. Kiir. "We hope that will be the way things are done in South Sudan."
Mr. Bannon said that South Sudan is emerging "as the most oil-dependent economy in the world" and stressed that private sector development and diversification of the economy through investment in the agriculture sector will be essential to kickstarting the new country's economy.
He said the World Bank's message to the government and to donors is to "be patient, be persistent, and perservere... there will be setbacks, we know things will go wrong."
As the glow of the joyous independence celebrations begins to fade, the need for patience, but also for hard work, by the government and its international supporters, will be cast in sharper relief. But if South Sudan has made it this far, citizens like Jok Michael say, wait and see what it can do next.