Dr. Jok Madut Jok, a Jennings Randolph fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, is currently on leave from the Institute to serve as undersecretary of the government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
On Jan. 11, 2011, he wrote a short piece (PDF) titled “Independent Southern Sudan and How the Two Sudans Become Stable Nations.”
He properly emphasizes that the hard part comes after the referendum. The most complex issues include nationality and citizenship, division of assets and international debts, border issues and managing cross-border movement and trade, and sharing the wealth from the southern oil in exchange for the use of the oil facilities in the north, including the pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
More tellingly, he warns that the ruling National Congress Party in northern Sudan will face serious internal challenges due to what will be seen as a legacy of failure for losing Southern Sudan. The biggest obstacle for Southern Sudan may be the tendency to engage in exclusionary practices based on ethnic differences that could have a detrimental impact on its viability as a nation.
I would add that corruption is another serious concern. Jok’s comments, written from a southern perspective, offer a brief but useful look into the near future of both Sudans.