Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cooperation between Southern and Northern Sudan essential as independence approaches

The Brenthurst Foundation in South Africa commissioned a study on Southern Sudan titled "Everything is at Zero: Beyond the Referendum – Drivers and Choices for Development in Southern Sudan."

Dated Nov. 2010, it properly focuses on the need for Southern and Northern Sudan to seek ways to collaborate as Southern Sudan moves inexorably towards independence. The paper examines the political and economic challenges facing Southern Sudan.

The paper concludes that Southern Sudan will need to build and reinforce economic linkages with the northern economy in order to develop rapidly and help guard against renewed North-South conflict.

Interdependence with the North could take the form of a common currency, soft borders for trade and people flow, and co-management of the White Nile and oil pipeline. Means to formalize these ties might include a customs union, increased cross-border infrastructure, revenue sharing and new politico-economic structures for joint administration of specific resources and interests.

To make agriculture the primary engine for non-oil growth, the study concluded a robust framework for encouraging commercial-level investment should be devised.

A significant re-balancing of Southern Sudan’s massive expenditure on defense with other budget priorities is essential.

Confidence-building measures between North and South, such as joint exercises and mutual disarmament, will be central to ensuring stability and security in the vital border region.

These are all ambitious goals that will be hard to achieve in the early heady days of Southern Sudan’s independence when the natural reaction will be to turn away from the North.

You can read the entire report at this link (936.72kb PDF).

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