Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 27 May 2012

South Sudan’s solution to economic independence

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Mariar Wuoi*

May 27, 2012 — South Sudan’s economy is suffering some shocks due to the sudden decision to shutdown oil production in response to north’s decision to impose unilateral decision to hijack South’s oil as a form of payment for the use of pipelines running across Sudan. The economic ramifications of the shutdown are definitely going to be felt by people in the South. However difficult this decision is, it has been met with widespread support across the South. The reason for widespread is people in the South believe that north’s decision to dictate the terms of economic relationships with the South amounted to a continuation of colonization. Southerners cherish their new-found freedom and are willing to endure hardships to preserve this precious freedom. While still holding on the hope that economic cooperation with the North is still possible, South has embarked on solutions to insulate its economy from current and future shocks emanating from North.

The NCP regime has made a calculated decision that depriving South of its oil export would be a catalyst for regime change in Juba and SPLM’s demise. The NCP’s observation was recently reinforced by the World Bank’s report that predicted dire conditions for the South’s economy. Now, thanks in no small part to the World Bank’s report, all the NCP has to do is wait as South economy implode and cause all kinds of political upheavals. This may not come to fruition because South Sudanese economy is not fully established to suffer in ways predicted in the WB report. Meanwhile in Juba, our government is running around looking for countries and companies to finance an alternative pipeline to Kenya so that South’s economy is not held hostage by Khartoum. So far, this has not been successful at least in the short term.

The reasons given for the reluctance to invest in a new pipeline come down to simple cost-benefit analysis and an international conspiracy to force South to work with North. There are questions regarding the viability of this project because of dwindling oil reserves beneath South and lack of significant discoveries. China is reluctant because its state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation owns major stake in GNPOC consortium that runs and own the existing pipeline running across Sudan. Other countries such as the United States are not eager to encourage building an alternative pipeline because that would lessen the need for cooperation between the two Sudans. In essence, South has found itself being funneled toward settling for a rocky and predatory relationship with its former parent. This is the only door that has been left wide open because it would help restore peace and keep the two countries from resorting to war. The international community is perfectly comfortable with the idea of South continuing to pay half of its oil revenues to Khartoum even though it is going to help Khartoum finance its war on the marginalized people of Blue Nile and South Kordofan and not to mention Darfur. Not only that, Khartoum will use the hard currency to acquire new weapons that would be used against South should there be a need to do so.

Given the barriers being placed on South path’s to economic independence from Khartoum, South needs to recalibrate its expectations and settle for a dual-use infrastructure like railway system between the Kenya’s coast and South’s oilfields. When the United States started on path to industrial revolution and economic prosperity, it did so using railroad that continue to crisscross this great country today. Oil was initially transported using railroad before being piped. It was not efficient but it did the job. Railroad continues to serve an important role today in America’s economy. Farmers in the hinterland are able to transport their produce to urban centers using railroad and then using sophisticated distribution system to reach customers. South would have a relatively easy task finding investors to build railway to Lamu port in Kenya than pipeline that may become unusable in a few decades. I have seen trains with cars or tanks reaching as far back as a kilometer, if not longer, snaking along the banks of the Ohio River. Why can’t this be a way for South to transport its oil and some more? Railway is a multi-purpose infrastructure that can be of use to transport goods cheaply. Trucking goods over dilapidated or nonexistent road is expensive and causes a lot of wear to existing roads. It is also unreliable as a truck can break down or gets bogged down in mud. During rainy reason, vast majority of our roads are impassable. Such an investment would be attractive to Chinese or other companies because there is potential to recoup investment overtime.

While this is not a lasting solution to the need for a more cost-effective way to transport oil to the markets, it gives South the added insurance of not being hassled by Khartoum into settling for a deal that defies economic sense. Using railway to transport oil is also efficient compared to trucks. Right now, the NCP regime has tied economic issues to security issues. Some of the conflicts such as one in Blue Nile and South Kordofan are outside the control of Juba because these regions are fighting for a very legitimate reason. Not even Juba can convince them to accept being exterminated to satisfy the security demands of Khartoum. It is Khartoum that needs to engage the issues causing rebellions and find a solution to its problems. Juba can facilitate finding that solution but it does not hold the keys to what Khartoum must be willing to offer. In this sense, tying what is clearly a political issue to economic cooperation is a sure way to say that solution is not within reach.

South Sudanese are a resilient people and are willing to endure hardships to preserve their economic and political independence. Our government must examine all possible solutions that would guarantee our economic independence so that we meet North as equals. We need to look into using railway system to transport our oil products to the market. Even if it would not meet our need to maintain current production levels, an alternative like railway would give us a chance to negotiate from a position of equals if not strength. It may take a while to build a railway but we should not wait for a crisis to chance upon us before we start thinking strategically.

*The author is a South Sudanese freelance writer and commentator. He can be reached at jmwuoi@gmail.com



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


How pursuit of good life dominates ethical conscience in Africa 2014-07-27 05:03:47 By Francis Ayul Yuar July 26, 2014 - Looking at the African Continent, my country in particular within this critical time of post independence political and ethnic’s violence, one’s mind wondered (...)

2015 elections are not a priority for Sudanese 2014-07-23 04:35:55 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman July 22, 2014 - This article comes against the backdrop of the news that reported the announcement of the National Elections Commission (NEC) that it had prepared the (...)

Bashir rests assured laden-burden on the Sudanese people’s shoulders 2014-07-14 06:09:16 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman July 13, 2014 - Omer al-Bashir believes that his continuing in power better protects him from tracking and prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). He clings (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


Memory, healing and transformation in South Sudan 2014-07-23 05:55:08 Memory, Healing and Transformation in South Sudan A Working Paper by David K. Deng July 2014 Contents Introduction 1 What is memorialization? 2 Timing 2 Risks 3 Principles 3 Integrity 3 (...)

South Sudan: Independence Day marred by ongoing war crimes and looming famine 2014-07-09 01:39:56 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE 8 July 2014 South Sudan: Independence Day marred by ongoing war crimes and looming famine · Both sides to the conflict committing war crimes and crimes (...)

UN urged to probe alleged cover-ups and manipulations by its mission in Darfur 2014-06-26 05:40:52 Strengthen Peacekeeping Mission’s Rights Reporting, Civilian Protection (New York, June 25, 2014) – The United Nations secretary-general should investigate alleged cover-ups and manipulation of (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.