South Sudan is celebrating its first anniversary as Africa’s newest state. However a year after euphoric independence celebrations – is it a familiar story of dashed hopes? It is still in conflict with its northern neighbour Sudan. It is engaged in an economic conflict over oil with Sudan.
Its government is accused of corruption, its people are poor and its leader Salva Kiir commited a diplomatic faux pas by keeping U.S. President Barack Obama waiting for over half an hour for their first meeting.
Meanwhile Sudan has its own problems. It lost 75% of its oil revenue when South Sudan seceded, and its leader Omar Al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes.
KEY FACTS ABOUT THE TWO SUDANS:
- South Sudan broke away from Sudan and became a new independent country in July 2011 after a referendum.
- Before then the mainly Christian south of Sudan had been at war for several years with the mainly Muslim north of Sudan. More than 2 million people died in this war.
- Despite independence, military tensions between the two Sudans remain high.
- Oil provides South Sudan with 98% of its revenue; yet it remains one of the poorest countries of the world.
- In April 2012, South Sudan decided to halt oil production in the disputed border area.
- Without the income from oil production, South Sudan has no money to improve the lives of its people.
- One-fifth of the people in South Sudan are suffering from chronic hunger.
Graphic on South Sudan (from Africa Confidential):