South Sudan already knows the score for independence: Time for economic sovereignty

South Sudan already knows the score for independence: Time for economic sovereignty
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Published May 29th, 2012 - 15:00 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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The international community is perfectly comfortable with the idea of South continuing to pay half of its oil revenues to Khartoum
The international community is perfectly comfortable with the idea of South continuing to pay half of its oil revenues to Khartoum
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Khartoum
,
China National Petroleum Corporation
,
GNPOC
,
World Bank

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.

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