News / Africa

    UN Mission Warns of Economic, Refugee Crises in South Sudan

    United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative to Secretary-General (SRSG) Hilde Johnson, March 6, 2012. United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative to Secretary-General (SRSG) Hilde Johnson, March 6, 2012.
    x
    United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative to Secretary-General (SRSG) Hilde Johnson, March 6, 2012.
    United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative to Secretary-General (SRSG) Hilde Johnson, March 6, 2012.
    Jill Craig
    NAIROBI — On Monday, South Sudan will celebrate its one-year anniversary as an independent nation.  The United Nations Mission in South Sudan was given a one-year mandate to ensure the protection of civilians, help with peace consolidation, and assist in state building.  Hilde Johnson, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative in South Sudan, met with reporters Thursday and discussed her observations of the country's and mission’s first year. 

    The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was intended to end the second Sudanese civil war, develop democratic governance, and force the sharing of oil revenues on an equitable basis.  It also required a referendum by which the people of southern Sudan could decide their future.

    In January of 2011, the people voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north and create the Republic of South Sudan.  However, the first year as an independent country has not been easy, as U.N. special representative Hilde Johnson can attest.

    "On the mission, can we say that the mission has been accomplished?  Absolutely not," said Johnson. "If you look at the mandate and Security Council Resolution 1996, the mandated tasks of the mission cannot be implemented in one year or in 12 months.  Which is also the reason that I have every reason to believe that the Security Council will renew the mandate for another 12 and we might also see a longer presence of the mission."

    Economic situation

    Johnson says that the dire economic situation in South Sudan is a primary concern.  South Sudan’s economy is dependent upon oil, which must be transported using a pipeline that runs through Sudan to the Red Sea.  After a disagreement with Sudan over transit fees, the government of South Sudan decided to stop oil production earlier this year.

    "Clearly, the shutdown of the oil production following the decision of the Cabinet of January 20 has had a significant impact on the South Sudanese economy," said Johnson. "It took a little while before it started to kick in, but we’re seeing an inflation rate of 80 percent, which was reported by the Minister of Finance to the parliament in connection with next year’s budget.  Of course, the loss of 98 percent of income is significant."

    Border issues

    Johnson says that people living near the highly-contentious borders are experiencing even greater economic hardship.

    "In the border areas, the inflation rate is higher, not least because of the closure of the border with Sudan and the lack of access of food, [and] because of the infrastructural challenges to get food to these areas.  So we’re seeing there even a doubling of that inflation rate, in some areas," Johnson said.

    Although improvements have been made, ethnic violence has not stopped in South Sudan.  Between December of 2011 and February of 2012, hundreds of fatalities were recorded by UNMISS in Jonglei State, mostly between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities.

    The violence also continues across the border, where Sudan's armed forces are fighting rebels in two states.

    "We’re seeing the refugee numbers out of South[ern] Kordofan and Blue Nile increase by the week, with thousands actually.  So now we have 175,000 caseload in refugee camps across the border, coming out of the two northern states.  Secondly, we’re seeing UNHCR projecting an increase up to 235,000. This is [a] burden on a new and independent country, that we should not underestimate," said Johnson.

    "Small victories"

    However, despite these problems, Johnson says that some small victories have taken place in the young nation’s first year.

    “My assessment is that, that the fact that we’re seeing two things happening," said Johnson. "One, full-scale war has been avoided, and two, stability in South Sudan in its first year has been achieved.  Two very basic, but very critical achievements.”

    Representatives from the governments of South Sudan and Sudan are currently meeting in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss issues such as the oil pipeline and border demarcation - including the flashpoint town of Abyei.  The U.N. Security Council has set August 2 as the deadline to conclude discussions.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora