The creation of South Sudan: prospects and challenges

The creation of South Sudan: prospects and challenges

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan achieved independence by separating from the northern state of Sudan to become the youngest nation in the world. The redoubtable challenge it faces is the continuance of the violent conflicts, mainly in the north, that is frustrating any attempt to bring about peace so
necessary to get on with the first task of any new nation–socio-economic development. After nearly five decades of struggle, two civil wars and the deaths of nearly 2.5 million people, Sudan has reached a pivotal moment in its history. The dictates of its present circumstances emerge from its long history of oppression and the need now to find its own identity, as also the confidence of being an autonomous state. South Sudan's complex and interdependent relationship with Sudan will have a definitive impact in its
trajectory as a nation, and on the prospects and challenges it currently encounters.

This paper seeks to assess the present challenges that exist for South Sudan through an understanding of the historical narrative of the Sudanese state prior to the independence of the southern state. A crisis of national identity has been the key to the Sudanese state's history of violence and has manifested itself through recent ethnic conflicts such as in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains. A history of interdependency and tensions over resource ownership has led to the heightened standoff in the oil-rich Abyei region, raising questions regarding the way ahead for the two warring regions. Sudan and South Sudan's dependency on oil, the strategic importance of countries (like India) investing in the region, and the longterm issues of sustenance will play a vital role in ensuring a future of peace,
progress and prosperity for both the Republics.

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