Archive for October 14, 2011

Urban Africa by numbers

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Urban Africa by numbers

Everyone knows that Nairobi’s Kibera district is the largest “informal settlement”, or slum, in sub-Saharan Africa. At least, they used to know. Politicians, journalists, NGOs and urban planning professionals routinely declared that 700,000 – 1,000,000 people lived in Kibera. But when the district was geo-statistically mapped for the first time in 2009 its population was estimated at no more than 220,000-250,000. Kibera has not exactly disappeared, but it is a shadow of its former imagined self.

In similar vein, the city of Lagos is widely believed to have about 15 million inhabitants – an estimate supported by the city authorities in the wake of Nigeria’s contested (and manipulated) 2006 census. But the 2009 Africapolis survey of West Africa’s urban population, the most sophisticated to date and compiled with the aid of satellite imagery, found that the city was home to no more than 10 million people. Even more significantly, while Nigeria’s census claimed that the country’s population was 140 million, the Africapolis team concluded that “in reality, [Nigeria] probably does not contain 100 million”.

The shrinkage of Kibera, Lagos and Nigeria will prove to be unexceptional. Governments and city authorities competing for funds, and donors and investors competing for projects, have shared a penchant for exaggeration. Despite the lack of a census in DRC since 1984, McKinsey forecasts that Kinshasa will be the 13th largest city in the world by 2025. The UN has routinely – and demonstrably – over-estimated the size of Africa’s larger cities and urban populations. Over time, errors and misinterpretations of data have become magnified, and projections less realistic. Yet it is the UN’s statistics which are most commonly cited. “They have become ‘fact’ by being constantly re-stated”, says Dr Debby Potts at King’s College, London, “instead of being recognised as guesses”.

More reliable urban population estimates and projections are increasingly available to anyone minded to heed them. They present a far from uniform picture for the continent, but challenge the received wisdom that Africa is urbanising faster than any other continent in the world. According to Africapolis, the urbanisation level in West Africa will rise by less than 3%, to 34.6% of the total population, in the period 2000-2020. Analysis by Debby Potts and other leading specialists of the 18 censuses published by sub-Saharan countries in the past decade reveals a similar picture. While urban populations are growing fast in many countries, only in four countries is rapid urbanisation occurring. According to Potts, “the most common pattern is for slow urbanisation”.

Rapid urbanisation is being portrayed – by the UN, the World Bank and many others – as a potential developmental “silver bullet” for Africa. Cities, we are frequently told, will be the drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction on the continent in the years to come. At present, such claims are too simplistic, and counter-productively over-optimistic.

One of the explanations for the modest momentum of urbanisation in so many African countries is the dearth of opportunities for individuals to improve their lot in towns and cities. Job creation, or lack of it, is the key factor here. In the absence of formal or informal employment, or better services, many rural migrants chose to return whence they came, or to come and go – a phenomenon known as “circular migration”. This is becoming more and more common, and stays in each location are of shorter duration. Natural increase among the poorest urban-dwellers, not migration, is the biggest driver of urban growth in Africa. This means slum growth, and burgeoning ranks of unoccupied young men and women.

As , Director of the African Centre for Cities in Cape Town, points out “this is tough stuff”. In Africa, despite encouraging GDP growth figures over the past decade, larger concentrations of people are not automatically generating benefits – quite the opposite. Talk of widespread “bottom-up development” occurring in towns and cities is far-fetched. The notion that big ticket urban infrastructure projects will be a panacea is equally misguided.

The social, economic and political consequences of policymakers continuing to ignore the best available demographic research could be grim. For example, appropriate food supply networks and health services require sound knowledge of population distribution and migration patterns. But unsound “common knowledge” is contributing to bad policymaking and wasted resources – human and financial. “A set of very pernicious trends is unfolding and planned investments will exacerbate these trends”, says Pieterse.

Edward Paice

ARI is collaborating with Dr Debby Potts and others in an effort to draw greater attention to the most up-to-date and reliable research on African urban growth and rural migration trends.

South Sudan President puts certificates holders on notice

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

President Salva Kiir. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |

By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Friday, October 14 2011 at 16:54

South Sudan President Salva has ordered the screening of civil servants in an attempt to rectify past recruitment anomalies and counter overstaffing in the infant nation’s public service.

President Kiir issued the order based on the recommendations of a ministerial committee tasked with reviewing appointments to create vacancies for qualified personnel.

At a Cabinet meeting on Friday chaired by President Kiir, the ministers directed the Public Service and Human Resource Development ministry to verify certificates of all government employees to get rid of holders of forged documents.

“The minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Ms Awut Deng Acuil, will continue to look into the type of certificates and degrees that have been presented by these candidates,” Information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said shortly after the meeting.

“Otherwise, the ministry of Higher Education will help and assist to verify the degrees, which have been the basis of endorsement of their appointments.”

In August, South Sudan said Uganda was “killing” it, claiming 90 per cent of the forged documents were from Uganda.

Last year, over 10,000 ghost workers, whose names were on the payroll, were laid off in a country where 73 per cent of the population is illiterate.

The inadequacy of skilled man power has caused the new country to seek assistance from regional Igad member countries.

East Coast Fever Affecting Animal Production in Country

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Abdulrazig Juma

Press release

Juba — East Coast fever is one of the animal diseases currently prevalent and affecting animal production in the Republic of South Sudan, the minister for Animal Resources and Fisheries Hon Dr Martin Elia Lomuro has said.

Dr Lomuro said that the states which are most affected by the disease include Warrap, Jonglei and Lakes. He said that the pastoralists in the states are facing a lot of socio-economic challenges as a consequence of the disease. He announced that an emergency action will be taken to contain the disease in the states and to stem further losses to the people.

The minister also underscored the role played by vet clinics and vet doctors in enhancing animal production in any society. He appealed to all qualified South Sudanese vets to report to the ministry for deployment. He also decried the lack of relevant vet laboratories and research programmes in South Sudan.

He announced that a plan of action for the animal and fisheries sector is currently being developed by the ministry and the stakeholders. He said that even though the ministry faces a lot of financial and human resource challenges, the government is committed to modernize and harness its fisheries and livestock potential. He also said that the ministry is working with the stakeholders to launch a bank devoted to provide customized services to the animal and fisheries sector.

The minister made these remarks yesterday when he gave an interview on South Sudan TV and Radio to explain the ministry’s priorities, policies and plans for the 100-days action plan programme.

USAID Funds Program to Reduce Food Insecurity in South Sudan

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

October 13, 2011
Public Information: 202-712-4810

BOR, SOUTH SUDAN – On October 13, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and its implementing partners Save the Children and Joint Aid Management, launched the Jonglei Food Security Program to support communities and the government of South Sudan in addressing the root causes of food insecurity throughout Jonglei State.

USAID Mission Director in South Sudan Kevin J. Mullally officially launched the USAID-funded program in Bor, the capital of Jonglei State in South Sudan. Through this program, USAID will help communities previously receiving emergency food assistance to recover and rebuild their livelihoods.

Jonglei State is one of the most food-insecure states in South Sudan, due to conflict and extreme natural disasters, including drought and floods, compounded by weak infrastructure. The program will strengthen household and community resiliency to food insecurity; increase crop and livestock productivity; and help agro-pastoralists and pastoralists increase their income by building their production capacity and business skills.

USAID is committing $54 million to the program, which will help meet the needs of nearly 150,000 chronically and temporarily food-insecure households in Akobo, Ayod, Bor, Nyirol, Pibor, Pochalla, Twic East, and Wuror in Jonglei State. Program activities are scheduled to begin in October 2011 and run for three years.

"Food insecurity for the population in Jonglei State is perhaps the most difficult and persistent due to the great need for stability, infrastructure, and access to innovative technologies and agriculture inputs," Mullally said. "We are focusing these additional resources there so that South Sudanese who are vulnerable to hunger will be able to better provide for their household food needs in a long-term, sustainable way."

USAID is the world’s largest provider of food aid. In South Sudan, USAID provided approximately $93.8 million in food aid in fiscal year 2011 to those in need of assistance, including internally displaced persons, returnees who returned to their areas of origin in South Sudan in recent months from areas north in Sudan, refugees, and conflict-affected populations.

Sudan’s Blue Nile conflict forces painful return to Ethiopia

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Aaron Maasho

KURMUK, Ethiopia (Reuters) – Sudan’s aerial bombardment of its Blue Nile state has driven thousands of people across the border into Ethiopia, a painful return for many to a refugee existence they thought was over when the Sudanese civil war ended six years ago.

When Khartoum signed the 2005 peace deal that closed one of Africa’s deadliest conflicts and paved the way for South Sudan’s independence in July this year, Maza Soya led her nine children out of a squalid camp in Ethiopia dreaming of a new life back home in Sudan.

Last month, however, fighting erupted in Blue Nile state between the northern Sudanese army and fighters allied to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the dominant force in the newly independent South Sudan.

"Our homes were burnt down to the ground. There were daily air raids on our town," Soya told Reuters two weeks after fleeing back to Ethiopia’s frontier town of Kurmuk.

Rebel fighters and residents in Sudan’s Kurmuk, a town of the same name just across the forested border, accuse the Sudanese government of waging a sustained, indiscriminate bombing campaign against civilians.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government denies bombarding Blue Nile, which lies just north of the new north-south border.

But Soya said her husband remained in Kurmuk in Sudan, recovering from shrapnel wounds that burst his stomach open when an Antonov aircraft at high altitude dumped its payload of bombs on their town.

"It is heartbreaking to be back," said Soya, who spent 21 years in one of several camps in Ethiopia that were home to tens of thousands of displaced Sudanese at the height of Sudan’s war.

The United Nations says about 27,500 Sudanese refugees have streamed into Ethiopia since the fighting broke out in early September.


Although Khartoum accepted the independence of South Sudan, analysts say it wants to crush rebels in the joint border area before they become a strong military and political force.

The Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project has released satellite imagery captured last month it says show an armoured brigade of 3,000 troops deployed along a road leading to rebel-controlled Kurmuk in Sudan.

One government bomb flattened a United Nations office and storage facility in Sudanese Kurmuk in mid-September, said aid workers who declined to be named. Sudan’s Antonovs could routinely be seen circling in the skies across the frontier, they said.

Dozens of refugees are crossing the border each day, down from hundreds a month ago. Aid workers expect that number to swell as high as 35,000 before the end of the year.

"Some of the residents have been trapped in the bushes. We expect that when ground troops advance, more will come to Ethiopia," said Aziku Santus, head of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) sub-office in western Ethiopia.

"We have opened a new camp and have prepared food for the newcomers," he said.

Many of the refugees, however, have opted to seek shelter in schools or in the homes of locals who share ethnic ties.

Others are camped out in the lush forests of Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz province where huge rocks sprout like giant termite mounds.

Some refugees in the Sherkole camp clung to hopes the violence back home would be short-lived and that they might head back soon to salvage their crops.

But for 38-year-old Salah Jeilan, even a brief return to the camps was too painful a reminder of a past life and scorched dreams, and one he would not contemplate.

Jeilan, his wife and seven children trekked for three weeks, their eyes scouring the skies for the white vapour trails of Khartoum’s bombers, before reaching Ethiopia.

"God willing, they’ll lay down their arms soon. But I would rather stay here and pray than move into a refugee camp after just leaving one," Jeilan said, playing cards under a tree.

South Sudan Detain Money Changers in Bid to Stabilize Currency

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Jared Ferrie

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) — South Sudanese authorities detained more than 20 illegal money changers as part of a plan to help stabilize the newly independent nation’s currency, a police spokesman said.

Information including the names of those held and the amount of currency they were carrying was handed to the Justice Ministry, Biar Mading said in a phone interview today from Juba, the capital. Mohamed al-Haj Baballa, the mayor of the city, issued the order for the police to take action, he said.

“There will be more arrests,” Mading said.

The country introduced the South Sudanese pound after splitting from the north and declaring independence on July 9. The new currency, which replaced the Sudanese pound, currently trades at about 4 per dollar on the black market. The central bank said on July 18 the pound would be equal to the Sudanese currency, which traded at 2.67 per dollar that day. Three foreign exchange bureaux in Juba quoted the official rate at 2.96 per dollar today.

The decline in the pound’s value on the black market contributed to a rise in prices of food and other commodities in South Sudan, Mading said. “It’s causing inflation,” he said.

The decision to curb trade on the black market came after a meeting on Oct. 11 of the Finance and Economic Planning Ministry, the central bank and security agencies, the New Sudan Vision news website reported on Oct. 12, citing Deputy Interior Minister Salva Mathok Gengdit.

After independence, South Sudan gained control of about 375,000 barrels a day of oil, about 75 percent of the former Sudan’s total output, the third-biggest in sub-Saharan Africa.

For Related News & Information: On South Sudan’s Oil Industry: {TNI SOUTHSUDAN OIL <GO>} Top Regional Stories: {AFTO <GO>} Most-Read Africa News: {MNI AFRICA <GO>}

–Editors: Paul Richardson, Karl Maier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jared Ferrie in Juba via Nairobi at pmrichardson

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin

‘Museveni plotting change of Sudan government

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By John Njoroge

Power threat. Sudan Vice President says Mr Museveni while attending an event last year in New York made his intentions clear when he said marginalised regions in Sudan should shift the centre of power. He also says the Ugandan President supported the secession of South Sudan.


Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha has accused President Museveni of plotting regime change in Sudan as part of a broader agenda to stifle Arab influence in Africa. The accusations come as the Khartoum administration struggles to calm protesters who have thronged the nation’s capital all week over high food prices and rising cost of living.

Mr Taha also accused former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and former Yemeni Vice President Ali Salim al-Beidh of contributing militarily to the secession of South Sudan. While attending a symposium in Egypt’s Capital Cairo on Monday, Mr Taha said Mr Museveni made his intentions clear sometime last year when he attended an event in New York. According to Mr Taha, Mr Museveni spoke of a movement by marginalised regions of Sudan to shift the centre of power in Sudan.

Uganda responds
“This is ridiculous,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ambassador James Mugume said yesterday. “I was in New York and the President never said such a thing.” Ambassador Mugume said President Museveni actually expressed support for the Sudanese government and called for the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 including the January 2011 referendum and the peaceful resolution of other post-referendum issues. According to the Sudan Tribune, Mr Taha could have been referring to a United Nations meeting Mr Museveni attended on September 27, 2010.

It is alleged Mr Museveni reportedly said the problem in Sudan was a group of Arabs who were trying to run Sudan as an Arab country regardless of the fact that it was an Afro-Arab nation.

The accusations are likely to further strain the Khartoum -Kampala relationship which is already fragile due to Uganda’s support of South’s independence and accusations that Khartoum largely supported the Lord’s Resistance Army that ravaged northern Uganda for over 20 years.

South Sudan: 18 opposition parties consider forming single political party

Posted: October 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

October 13, 2011 (JUBA) – Leaders from at least 18 opposition parties in newly independent South Sudan are considering forming a single opposition political party capable of challenging the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), an opposition leader said Thursday.

Tong Lual Ayat, the chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP) said in an interview with Sudan Tribune that consultations to form single party have already begun.

"We are looking at objectives and driving principles of each political party”, he said. Ayat says the parties believe having one strong political party capable challenging the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is the only way to meet the interests of the people of South Sudan.

“Yes South Sudan is a multiparty state but we need to have at least effective political parties," said the opposition leader. South Sudan has around 23 registered political parties but none are able to compete with SPLM, the former rebels who have governed South Sudan as an autonomous region since a 2005 peace deal.

As part of the deal South Sudan voted to become independent in January and seceded in July.

“Many of these political parties do not have stand-out or clearly defined manifestos and actually others are just using ‘cut-and-paste’ documents or carbon copies of other manifestos. They do not have clear objectives. Some are parties formed out of the main parties because of internal political differences”, he said.

The opposition leader who accused the ruling party of undermining his party, said “when the multiparty democracy develops the conflicts between parties or their members will cease and political organisation will be addressing national agendas not highlighting their differences”.

He made the statement ahead of a forthcoming consultative meeting of political parties while pointing out that it was high time for the members of political organisations to set clear objectives.

Onyoti Adigo, the leader of South Sudan’s largest opposition party – the SPLM for Democratic Change – in the South Sudan’s national Assembly said his party had already entered into an alliance with 18 political parties but have not yet reached a consensus to forming one political party.

“We are already a strong party”, Adigo told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

“We have an alliance with other political parties but we welcome merging parties if the leaders agree on the objectives and principles”, he said.

Adigo further said political parties act had not yet passed through parliament but that it was the prerogative of opposition parties to hold such consultations and developing strategies that were beneficial to the nation building.

The Republic of South Sudan: 100 days later

On the eve of South Sudan’s independence the Adigo was badly beaten by security services.

Kuol Agany Deng, a member of the SPLM agreed that there was no need to have so many political parties in the country. He describing some of them as “briefcase parties”, which had never won a seat in parliament.

"We have seen many south Sudanese politician forming parties in Khartoum and we have seen them wining elections in their constituencies. There are parties without members”, he said.

Deng claimed that only the SPLM had a national agenda and programs aimed at developing the new nation.

“Many political parties do not have members; they just have activists and operate by mobilising masses other than addressing national issues. This is why I believe that many of the political parties will die natural deaths because multiparty is not just a race that starts with many runners but programs.”

In late 2010 ahead of January’s referendum on independence, an all party political conference was held in Juba to unite South Sudan ahead of the vote, which saw an overwhelming vote in favour of partition.

However the process of writing South Sudan’s interim constitution has proved divisive with many opposition parties pulling out of the process, accusing the SPLM of not listening to their views.

Earlier this month the leader of SPLM-DC returned to Juba after self imposed exile, with South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, asking the security services not interfere with the opposition party.

During elections in April last year SPLM-DC complained of intimidation and malpractice. The SPLM one the election with an overwhelming majority. Corruption in South Sudan, which is dominated by the SPLM is a major problem according to the party’s chairman, president Salva Kiir.


The Republic of South Sudan: 100 days later