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Will US Clash With China in Africa?

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When will China and US face off in Africa?

By Peter Benjamin
South Sudan News

Juba — January 30 … Influential African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has published an analysis of foreign policy strategies of the United States and China in Africa. The think-tank points at the “evolution in the People’s Republic of China’s attitude toward, and commitment to, Africa.

The rôle of sub-Saharan Africa is evolving from just an economic resource for China into a Chinese strategic lever against the US-led West. The Chinese have long been investing heavily in Africa as the key long-term source for energy, ores, rare earths, and other raw materials for their industrial growth”.

The Fashoda Institute asserts that “recently, the PRC has been expanding its operations into sponsoring the creation of a secondary industrial base in Africa itself in order to better support their economic undertakings. Beijing is now also looking to Africa as a prime instrument for preventing, or at the least controlling, the flow of resources to the West. The PRC is worried because the PRC leadership perceives that the US is desperate to revive its sagging economy and disappearing industrial base while discussing an explicitly anti-Chinese pivot to East Asia”.

“The Chinese are also apprehensive that Europe is embarking on reindustrialization and thus might lessen its dependence on Chinese imports and the trans-Asian venues of transportation — the new Silk Road — and their strategic value”, notes the analysis. “It is in such a grand strategic context that Beijing is studying US-led Western activities in Africa and, not without reason, is becoming increasingly apprehensive about them. That is why Beijing is now determined to capitalize on the PRC’s preeminence in Africa in order to pressure, if not extort, the West. The margin for error under these conditions is extremely narrow”.

The Fashoda Institute warns that “America’s “humanitarian interventionism” in sub-Saharan Africa is markedly increasing tensions and exacerbating conflicts all around. The specter of current and future US- and French-led military interventions and the ensuing toppling of leaders and governments is sending both African leaders and aspirant strongmen to posture for better positions in case the US and France intervened in their states and regions. Desperate to increase their military capabilities, they make Faustian deals with any anti-Western power they can reach out to, be it China or Iran. Hence, there exists a growing possibility that US-Chinese tension will also spark a clash in explosive Africa”.

The analysis ends with a troubling prognosis: “Where the next eruption in Africa will lead is anybody’s guess.

In a recent Brookings Essay entitled “The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War”, Professor Margaret MacMillan warned of the growing and disquieting similarities between the world of Summer 1914 and the world of early 2014. “It is tempting — and sobering — to compare today’s relationship between China and the US with that between Germany and England a century ago,” Professor MacMillan writes. She also points to the prevailing belief — then as now — that a full-scale war between the major powers is unthinkable after such a prolonged period of peace.

“Now, as then, the march of globalization has lulled us into a false sense of safety,” Professor MacMillan writes. “The 100th anniversary of 1914 should make us reflect anew on our vulnerability to human error, sudden catastrophes, and sheer accident.”

South Sudan: Khartoum To Invade Abyei As Referendum Favors Union With Juba

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — November 14, 2013 (SSN) … The Ngok Dinka people of the Abyei, a disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan, held their own informal referendum as a desperate cry to the international community to save a people under threat of genocide.

The organizers of the referendum announced on October 31, 2013, that virtually all Ngok Dinka voted to join South Sudan. The Dinka tribe played a key role in South Sudan’s generation-long liberation war: one of the opening clashes in South Sudan’s liberation war was the 1965 massacre of 72 Dinka Ngok by Misseriya tribesmen in the Abyei town of Babanusa.

The semi-nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe boycotted the referendum and promised not to recognize it. The home grounds of the Misseriya tribe are in the deserts of central Sudan and the tribe traditionally move down to the Abyei area, as well as other areas along the Sudan-South Sudan border in quest for grazing for their cattle as well as black slaves for the urban markets in northern Sudan.

Khartoum has announced that it would not recognize the unilateral referendum.

As the Fashoda Institute think-tank points in its analysis, Sudan is determined to hold onto Abyei in order to secure the vast oil reserves underneath: “all the more so as the economic collapse of Sudan is evolving into major popular riots which threaten the very existence of the Khartoum Government”.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir invited President Bashir to Juba on October 22, 2013, for an emergency summit on the future of Abyei. Following the summit, senior Sudanese officials reiterated Khartoum’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Abyei crisis in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA of 2005 as subsequently supplemented by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel.

However, “developments on the ground contradict Khartoum’s assertion of a commitment to a legal and peaceful resolution of the crisis over Abyei”, as the Fashoda’s report has pointed out this week. In early October 2013, the Sudanese Army and Air Force have intensified the build-up of forces in the south of Sudan: mainly Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The Army deployed heavy battalions and regiments equipped with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. Smaller units — mainly company-level — deployed all the way to the border with South Sudan.

The Air Force deployed to the El-Obeid area strike aircraft — Su-24s and A-5Qs — as well as Mi-24/Mi-35 & Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters. All the forces and weapons detected are optimized for offensive operations.

Fashoda’s experts agree that “all evidence points to Khartoum’s intent to increase military pressure on Juba in order to force Juba to compromise over Abyei. But a lot of things can go wrong with Sudanese patrols aggressively probing and shooting along the border”.

“All of these activities can be considered harbingers for the possibility of Bashir’s Khartoum electing to provoke a major crisis over Abyei as a way of both avoiding tackling the Abyei crisis while mobilizing Sudan’s own restive population — particularly the Islamists — into supporting and joining a jihad against South Sudan rather than riot against the Bashir Government”, writes the Fashoda Institute.

“Several opposition leaders — including former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and Hassan al-Turabi — promised to endorse and support any armed undertakings aimed to not only secure Abyei but also “reunite Sudan” (that is, occupy South Sudan). This is a temptation the besieged Bashir cannot ignore. Hence the growing Sudanese bellicosity along the border. The distance between provocations and an unintended war is very small and perilously vague.”

South Sudan Organizes Investment Conference in December

By Joe Odaby

Juba — October 4, 2013 …The Government of South Sudan in collaboration with development partners is organizing a two-day investment conference scheduled for December 4-5 this year.

The conference seeks to promote South Sudan as a viable investment and business destination in the region by bring together senior government officials, key agencies and industry leaders to aid essential development and investment initiatives, The Deputy Minister for Finance Mary Jervas Yak said on Thursday while briefing the press in Juba.
To be officially opened by the President of the Republic, HE Salva Kiir Mayardit, the conference is expected to address regional and international potential investors, local investors, representatives of multinational corporations, Bankers, representatives of non governmental organization, donor organizations government officials among others.
This investment conference in South Sudan will provide a platform for investors to explore business or investment opportunities particularly on the five high impact sectors namely Agriculture, Infrastructure, Tourism and Hospitality, Petroleum and Mining” Hon. Yak said.
There is already a steering committee composed of government officials, private sector and development partners chaired by the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Investment and Economic Planning as well as a committee of the same membership chaired by the South Sudan Investment Authority to spearhead the preparations.
The abundant natural resources, current business opportunities, the conducive investment climate in the country, Business climate transformation, stories of successful investments and South Sudan’s participation in the regional economic integration and growth will be the main messages to convey in the December conference.
Concurrent with the conference, the finance deputy minister said, there will an exhibition to showcase successful investment projects in the country. Both local and international investors  take part in the exhibition. There will also be vibrant social and cultural programs to help promote South Sudanese rich culture, said Hon. Yak.
This conference is part of a larger RSS and development partners initiative stemming from the April 16, 2013 Washington DC South Sudan investment Forum.

 

 

 

South Sudan Establishes Database On Homeless Children

By Christian Edwards

Juba, South Sudan — September 19, 2013 (SSN) Mrs. Awut Deng, South Sudan Minister of Gender Child, Social welfare and Humanitarian Affairs, has engaged in a countrywide audit aimed at establishing the actual number of street children and orphans for the purpose of national planning.

Minister Deng has travelled to the Eastern Equatoria state to assess the situation of the homeless children there. Her visit, she said was to collect views of various civil servants, experts, charity workers on how best the street children could be helped to lead a normal life.

“It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that all these children go to school. They are the future of this country”, the Gender Minister urged.

She called on the governments of regional states, development partners, civil society organization and religious leaders to join efforts in ensuring “streets free of street children”.

Hon. Awut who was received by the state’s deputy governor Mr.Jerome Gama Surur, visited a school of the orphans in the state’s capital Torit. The school is operated by the charity organization, Hope for Sudan. It has enrolled a total of 86 orphans. Madam Awut applauded the well wishers whose contributions made it possible to set up the center that she said has become home for many homeless children.

Awest Lomoro, a street child aged nine, appealed to the government for support, saying the government needs to take action to protect the fathers and the mothers. The South Sudan Gender Minister has in the recent past visited Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.

 

South Sudan President Kiir Takes Emergency Measures As Floods Continue

Juba, South Sudan — September 17, 2013 (SSN) Most parts of South Sudan are overwhelmed by flood waters as a result of  the heavy rains the country has suffered in the last few weeks. The most hard-hit states are Northern Bahr el Ghazal with a total of 5, 882 households affected, Warrap with 10,000, Unity 8,355 and Upper Nile with 8,000 households affected. Lakes states and parts of Central Equatoria are reportedly also affected.

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, said his government is taking immediate measures to respond to the needs of the affected population and is setting aside 7 million South Sudanese pounds to rescue the situation.

 

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H.E. President Kiir during the briefing.

“Your government is deeply concerned with the suffering imparted upon you by this natural disaster and has taken immediate action towards finding temporary mitigation measures while also looking for long term solutions once we overcome the emergency situation”, the President said on Thursday in his address to the nation.

President Kiir said that “food, security, shelter water purification tablets, medical services, information on floods and evacuation” are the immediate needs of the affected people in South Sudan.

President Kiir has assembled a nine-member taskforce to map, assess and propose immediate intervention plans for helping the affected 37, 238 households.

South Sudan President Kiir said the floods have swept away farms and homes depriving most of the people of the affected areas of their livelihoods. Health facilities, livestock grazing areas and other public utilities have also been rendered useless. The South Sudan President warned that flood-associated factors such as outbreaks of diseases, hunger and general collapse of peoples’ coping mechanisms remain eminent.

 

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Homes and farming land have been flooded in most parts of the country.

Besides thanking the UN and other partners for responding to the emergency, South Sudan President Kiir also called on the business communities – both in South Sudan and abroad – to help the affected regions of South Sudan with whatever they can during these difficult times.

South Sudan: New Roads, All-Terrain Trucks Will Integrate The Region

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By Joe Odaby

Juba — September 9, 2013 (SSN) … Experts are pressing for opening alternate transportation routes from Nigeria to East Africa and using high-mobility all-terrain trucks in order to
overcome the absence of quality roads all over the region.

A recent Reuters report showed how much the development of East Africa, especially of the South Sudan, is hampered by the shortage of quality roads.

Every day up to 130 trucks from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia or even farther away arrive at the customs clearing area the size of a football field in the small border town of Nimule, South Sudan’s southern gateway to Uganda.

As Reuters put it, “once a sleepy outpost built by colonial ruler Britain to mark its southernmost presence in Sudan, Nimule has become an economic lifeline for South Sudan since the world’s newest state seceded from Khartoum in 2011 following decades of civil war”.

Landlocked South Sudan depends on its oil exports flowing north to fund its state budget, and remains vulnerable to shutdowns caused by disputes over pipeline fees and border conflicts with its former enemy Sudan.

With almost no industrial production and just some 300 km (190 miles) of paved roads, the new nation depends on truck drivers to provide it with everything from diesel to beer, condoms, trousers, laptops and frozen salami.

Whenever the road is blocked, supermarkets across the country struggle to get supplies.

Cross-border traffic has, however, been on the rise since a U.S.-funded project converted the dirt track from the British era into South Sudan’s only paved road.

The economic impact was immediate. “The new Nimule road has boosted trade and also lowered the transport cost of goods,” said Kimo Adiebo, professor of economics at Juba University.

Annual inflation has fallen to less than 10 percent from over 40 percent since the road was completed last autumn.

From Juba 205 km (128 miles) north of Nimule, some goods continue their trip on bumpy roads to the rest of a nation the size of France. It takes up to a month for soft drink cans from Dubai, loaded in Mombasa, to reach the countryside.

The border is open only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the road from Nimule to Juba becomes dangerous at night with frequent accidents and bandits robbing passengers.

That total dependence on the Juba-Nimule road leads experts in Juba to press their Government and the Western neighbours of South Sudan – Central African Republic, Cameroon and Nigeria – for opening alternate transportation routes from the West to East Africa.

However, building the new roads is a costly and lengthy process while South Sudan needs alternate transportation routes right now – to provide for its remote deprived regions and to integrate the country torn apart by years of civil war. Many Western and local transportation experts agree that a quick and cost-effective solution will be procurement of high-mobility all-terrain trucks. A fleet of such trucks would help South Sudan to overcome the absence of quality roads and speedily integrate with its regional neighbours.

 

South Sudan Devastated By Floods, Requests Emergency Humanitarian Aid

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By John Leaman
South Sudan News

Juba — August 24, 2013  (SSN) … More than 18,000 people with over 1,000 households in South Sudan have been affected and others displaced from their homes by devastating floods that ravaged the Maiwut County in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State in recent days.

According to County authorities people are deeply suffering and lacking basic essentials. Women and children have mostly been displaced due to flooded homes.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the medical NGO, says about 90,000 people are still missing.

Over 48 people have been killed with severe damage to public buildings, including schools, clinics, offices, shops, markets and water and sanitation facilities. Roads in South Sudan have been inundated, disrupting transport.

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Many are still taking shelter at higher grounds and others remain in the open without any food or shelter and no proper medication as water born diseases increases with prevalence of increasing malaria cases where three have already lost their lives.

South Sudan’s Government is stepping in to provide emergency assistance to the flooded areas but the resources of the country are limited due to the economic Jihad waged against this new democratic state by its Islamist northern neighbor, Sudan.

South Sudan’s Government is calling on Humanitarian Organizations to step in and provide assistance immediately to avoid an escalation of malnutrition and diseases.

The floods have been the worst one in two decades and people fear more rains from across the neighboring Ethiopian highlands.

UN agencies led by OCHA and United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNIMSS) have already conducted a brief assessment mission in the area and explained that immediate assistance such as food, cover sheets and medicines and will be provided to the displaced people. 

South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund Allocates 33 Million Dollars For Refugees

By Joe Odaby

 Juba — August 23, 2013 (SSN) … The South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has allocated US$33 million for life-saving assistance until the end of the year to people displaced by violence, returnees, refugees and vulnerable host communities. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

The money, according to a UNOCHA press statement will be channeled to providing clean water and sanitation, education, livelihoods support, healthcare, household items, nutrition, mine clearance and protection for the citizens of South Sudan..

“The money will help people in South Sudan who have been worst affected by violence, disease and displacement. Our goal is to make sure aid gets to those who need it most and as quickly as possible,” said Toby Lanzer, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.

The CHF is a tool that provides funding for the most urgent priorities for humanitarian action, and ensures that funds are available for rapid response to emergencies. The fund is managed by the Humanitarian Coordinator, with support from an advisory board of donors and UN and NGO representatives.

To date this year, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom have all provided generously to the fund, Lanzer said. With the new allocation of $33 million, the CHF will have channeled around $90 million to NGOs and UN agencies in 2013.

Aid agencies are now reporting that some sixty thousand (60,000) returnees displaced from Abyei region by the May 2011 Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invasion have already returned home ahead of the much anticipated referendum exercise scheduled for October this year.

An Abyei return tracking report for June and July this year showed that about 16,000 people have been verified as having returned to Abyei since June 2012. While the verification process did not capture returns in and around Agok in the south of the Abyei area, food partners monthly registration records reportedly suggest that another between 5,000 and 8,000 people have returned and settled in Agok, an areas known to many as Annet.

“Overall, partners estimate that up to 60,000 of the over 100,000 people displaced from Abyei in May 2011 have returned” the United Nation’s weekly bulletin reported. According to the verification report, there are around 3,500 people living in Abyei town.

Aid organizations are said to be responding to the needs of those who have returned to their homes, including by providing communities with seeds, tools and non-food items to “strengthen their resilience”.

Although a number of schools in Abyei town have been rehabilitated, school enrollment, education partners say is much lower than anticipated.

Since 2003, over 2.3 million Darfuris have fled their homes, including nearly 300,000 as refugees in Chad. Thousands of children born in these camps have never known another home.

And the cycle of violence continues. In the first four months of 2013, over five times as many people had been displaced than in all of 2012. In one week alone in April 2013, some 50,000 Darfuris fled into southeastern Chad following fresh ethnic conflict. The refugees reported entire villages being burned and razed with many villagers killed.

In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, indiscriminate aerial bombardments are Sudan’s devastating signature tactic. Bombs destroy residential areas, schools and markets, health clinics and farm fields.

Civilians have no warning of these attacks and flee for protection to caves in nearby mountains or to the bush. Children go without school, and villages are emptied of their people. The air strikes, combined with scorched-earth attacks and deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid, have led to chronic hunger and conditions conducive to famine.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated the human rights violations by Sudan rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sudan’s campaigns of armed conflict and deliberate denial of humanitarian aid combined with the prevention of South Sudanese oil exports continue to devastate entire communities and regions.

 

 

New South Sudan Minister For Gender Equality Focuses on Street Children

gender_minister_south_sudanHon. Awut Deng Acuil 
Photo: Simon Matip Akol

By Juliet Abango

Juba — August 20, 2013 (SSN) … The newly appointed National Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare the Hon. Awut Deng Aciul has urged the staff of her ministry to embrace teamwork if they are to record any meaningful success.
“Teamwork is the only way we can be able to achieve what we want for this ministry and the people of South Sudan”, Hon Aciul said while being officially received at the ministry.

 

She said the work at the ministry is massive and called for commitment and dedication. One of the major tasks of the ministry, she said, is tackling the problem of street children in South Sudan. She said her ministry will have to work with all players and the ten state’s ministries of Social Development in order to team up efforts to address the issue.
Like many of her fellow ministers, Hon. Aciul was received at the ministry with ululations, dancing and singing. Headed by the South Sudan Undersecretary Esther Ikere Eluzai, the staff members thanked the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit for appointing Hon Acuil as the Gender Minister.
After the meeting, Hon. Aciul visited the Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Rejaf School for the Blind and the Deaf along Nimule roads as well as the proposed ministry building along Yei road.

On July 23, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree removing Vice-President Riek Machar Teny and dissolving the whole government of South Sudan.

Kiir dismissed all 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Kiir did not appoint a new vice-president or national ministers and deputy ministers.

The decree directed the under-secretaries of the various ministries to run South Sudan’s ministries until further notice. The decree also stipulated the new government will have only 18 national ministers and deputy ministers in order to streamline government work. A senior official at the presidency predicted that government ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible.”

Officially, Kiir’s Presidential decree does not explain the reason for the major shake-up.

Senior government officials, including some fired by the decree, called the undertaking a “reshuffle” that had long been expected given the mounting problems in government work. Nhial Bol, the editor of the independent Citizen TV, concurred. He believes that the president must have acted in order to end government paralysis. “Things have not been moving in the government because of this internal fighting over who is going to control the SPLM,” Nhial Bol said.

Fashoda Institute, the leading, Juba-based think-tank, asserts that “in embarking on the profound reshuffle of government, President Kiir put the national interest ahead of internal politics and the early posturing for the 2015 presidential elections”.

The Fashoda Institute states that Sudan has been sponsoring – primarily through the supply of weapons, ammunition and funds – the sustenance and escalation of insurgencies and tribal violence throughout South Sudan to the detriment of internal development. Allegations of endemic corruption throughout the entire government – which already led Kiir to undertake drastic measures such as suspending two senior ministers – considerably restricted the availability of foreign aid.

“The ability of the Kiir Government to tackle these daunting challenges has been needlessly complicated by their cynical exploitation by Vice-President Machar”, reports the Fashoda Institute.

“President Kiir will have a new and invigorated government that will be able to finally tackle the key challenges facing South Sudan: building alternate oil export venues – both short-term and long-term regional infrastructure; enhancing security and suppressing violence both internally and along the borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic; and launching overdue major social and economic development to put the country on a long-term ascent track. Juba will thus demonstrate activism – that is, initiate and launch major programs rather than be beholden to foreign aid.

The Fashoda political analysts report that “President Kiir is correct in arguing that it was impossible to initiate anything beforehand because of the endemic lack of funds and government crises.

Soon, with a new government in office and limited income from the short-term export push coming in – President Kiir’s Juba will be moving fast and resolutely to alleviate crises the moment this becomes possible”.

 

 

 

South Korea Donates $5 Million To South Sudan To Fight Child Mortality

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — August 15, 2013 (SSN) – The Korean Foundation for International Health Care (KFIHC) has earmarked five million ($5 million USD), United States Dollars an equivalent of SSP20,000,000 for the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and infant mortality rate in South Sudan.
The Under Secretary in the South Sudan Ministry of Health Dr. Makor Koryom, revealed this yesterday while signing a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean organization.

Dr. Koryom said the three-year project aims at reducing “the already high infant mortality rates” as well as curbing the spread of Tuberculosis in the country.
The funding project, he said will help the South Sudan government to improve the health sector, while on the order hand he said it will open a door of cooperation between the government of the people of South Korea and the Republic of South Sudan.

 

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Dr. Makor and Mr. Sire change copies of the signed MOU
[Photo: William Jufur]

Meanwhile Mr. David Sire, the Secretary General of KFIHC lauded the government, particularly the National Ministry of Health for its readiness to partner with his organization in improving the health sector in South Sudan.
He assured of his country’s commitment in working with the government of South Sudan to bring what he described as “positive changes” in the health care system in the young country.
Furthermore, he promised his organization’s commitment to continue funding more projects in the coming years.