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South Sudan at One Year — The Harsh Realities

By Brigette Namata

It has been exactly one year since South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. The world’s newest nation found its first year full of harsh reality, marred with border wars, internal violence, and disputes with Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

The landlocked South stopped oil production [1] in January 2012 after accusing Sudan of stealing $815 million worth of its oil. The South shut down more than 900 oil wells, impacting a nation that relies heavily on oil revenues.

Half of South Sudan’s 9.7 million people are facing food shortages [2]. Fighting at the border has tampered trade, affecting people’s earnings and the need for basics such as food and fuel.
The bitter dispute with Khartoum [3] has not ceased heavy border fighting (particularly in March and April).

The nation still remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Basic infrastructure—roads, electricity—are severely lacking. The lack of schools and hospitals are more evidence of the nation’s underdevelopment.

Suspicion of government corruption does not add favorably to South Sudan. A leaked letter [4] revealed to the public, addressed to 75 current and former officials, demanded upwards of $4billion in stolen government money returned.

But South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, remains optimistic that the nation will rise to prosperity. In a speech to the United Nations on Monday, Kiir asserted that more has to be done in order to liberate from foreign powers.

“We still depend on others. Our liberty today is incomplete. We must be more than liberated. We have to be independent economically,” he told the crowd.