News / Africa

South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy

South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy
South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy
Nico Colombant

Six months after the exuberance of independence, South Sudan is struggling with major challenges, including recurring internal violence, large scale corruption, daunting security sector reform and growing disputes with Sudan to the north.

Deadly clashes between rival communities in Jonglei state in recent weeks have displaced tens of thousands of civilians and killed a yet to be determined number of people. The clashes followed similar violence in the same state in August, just weeks after South Sudan came into existence.

Eric Reeves, a Sudan researcher at Smith College, says it has been an extremely difficult beginning, in terms of security. “The situation is rather grim and for a number of reasons, some of them have to do with the ethnic rivalries we have seen on display in gruesome fashion in Jonglei and elsewhere in South Sudan.  The renegade rebel groups like the South Sudan Liberation Army supplied by Khartoum have also proven very destabilizing," he said.

For its part, Sudan’s government has accused South Sudan of funding and arming cross-border former Sudan People’s Liberation Army fighters.

Former leaders from the SPLA, which fought a two-decade civil war against Sudan, now head the South Sudanese government in Juba.

The two governments have been unable to make progress on several outstanding issues that peace deals and the official breakup failed to fully address. One is how to share oil revenue, which comes from South Sudan but transits through Sudan.

Analysts agree that issue will be very complicated to resolve. But they say there also are pressing issues over which officials from South Sudan could take more control.

Jonathan Temin, from the United States Institute of Peace, says he would like to see officials instill more national pride. “One of the greatest challenges South Sudan faces now is defining itself and creating a greater sense of what it means to be South Sudanese.  As in many parts of Africa, people in South Sudan tend to identify first with their ethnic group and only second or third with their country, and particularly when the country is as new as South Sudan is, it is a particular challenge," he said.

J. Peter Pham, the Africa director for the Atlantic Council, says creating development, infrastructure, economic growth and opportunity is also extremely crucial.

He would like to see more emphasis on agriculture. “We are talking about a country that is 80 percent arable, well watered, yet less than 10 percent of that space that could be dedicated to agriculture is actually even farmed," he said.

A Sudan and South Sudan expert at Fordham University, Amir Idris, is fearful for South Sudanese if economic and social issues are not addressed quickly. “This cycle of violence will continue and South Sudan will suffer from that, and the SPLA itself might fragment along ethnic lines and that is going to create a serious problem for both the government of South Sudan and the international community," he said.

The international community, including the U.S. government, pushed hard diplomatically for ending the civil war and bringing about the creation of South Sudan.
Idris says he believes too much emphasis is now being put on the capital, Juba, and the country’s government structure, rather than effective nation building.

South Sudan analysts say they also worry about reports of large scale corruption among government leaders and how outside aid may not be benefiting most South Sudanese. They say they fear this also could lead to more infighting.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs