Archive for April 3, 2012

South Sudanese Shoppers grumble as South Sudan oil shutdown drags on

Posted: April 3, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

* Oil shutdown in dispute with Sudan has hit economy

* Inflation up, work more scarce in Africa’s newest country

By Alexander Dziadosz

BOR, South Sudan, April 3 (Reuters) – Amburose Gift expected to make good money in South Sudan when he moved to the oil-producing country from Uganda three years ago. Now he is just trying to pay for a bus ticket home.

The 23-year-old construction worker has yet to cobble together the fare of 200 South Sudanese pounds – about $50 on the black market – to get him out of the country that stopped pumping crude in January due to a row with Sudan.

For Gift and thousands of other foreign and local workers in the newly independent nation, the oil shutdown meant a steep rise in prices and less work as businesses try to hold down spending in what has become an economic crisis.

“There have been increases in the prices for things like eggs, even onions, everything,” Gift said.

South Sudan took about three quarters of Sudan’s oil output when it became independent in July under a peace deal that ended decades of civil war and oil – when it flows – provides about 98 percent of state revenues.

The catch is that South Sudan still needs pipelines, a Red Sea port and other facilities located in Sudan to export crude. The two have fallen out spectacularly over how much it should pay to use them.

Facing roaring inflation and a sinking currency of its own, Sudan began to confiscate oil from the South to make up for what it said were unpaid fees, prompting Juba to shut down its oil fields in protest.

That cut flows of foreign currency into the new nation and helped weaken the South Sudanese pound to about 4 to the U.S. dollar on the black market from around 3.5 before the shutdown.

That drove up inflation as the country relies on imports for everything from basic food items such as sugar or bananas, to furniture, machines and consumer goods. No sizable industry exists outside the oil sector.

Prices were already rising before Juba stopped producing oil, due in large part to a disruption in trade with the north.


The impact has particularly hit places like Bor, capital of South Sudan’s Jonglei state, where most goods are trucked in at a premium on bumpy dirt roads from Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere.

Analysts say annual inflation in remote places like Jonglei is much higher than the national figure of 42 percent reported for February, due to transport costs.

“Prices here are tied to the dollar. If the dollar goes up, the prices go up,” said Ali Salah, a 40-year-old trader in Bor’s dusty market, adding that staples like sugar and rice were rising.

“The first thing in the economy of this country is petroleum. If there’s no petroleum, there’s nothing.”

The government announced a raft of austerity measures including cutting spending by 35 percent this budget year.

Northern Sudanese officials say the shutdown has worked to their advantage, despite their own economic problems, pushing South Sudan to soften its bargaining position in talks about oil transit fees and border disputes.


Several traders and customers in Bor’s market said the oil shutdown had forced authorities to collect duties more aggressively, pushing prices even higher.

Kiyingi Paulo, a 25-year-old Ugandan trader, said “high taxation” had helped push the cost of a 25-kg sack of flour at his brother’s shop to about 70 pounds from 60 before the shutdown.

The cuts are also being felt in Bor’s government offices. One local official who asked not to be named said his ministry had been asked to halve the “services” section of its budget, which covers things like water, cleaning and car repairs.

“If I was given 10,000 last time, now it’s cut to 5,000,” he said, declining to give the actual budget figures.

Despite the strain, Bor’s market of corrugated metal and wooden shacks still appears lively. Plastic bags rustle as shoppers haggle over vegetables for evening meals. The smell of dried fish and burning charcoal hangs in the air.

Mary Augustine, a 36-year old hotel worker buying okra from a woman who put the money into a piece of newspaper stapled together into a purse, said it was becoming impossible to make ends meet.

“It used to cost just five pounds to feed the whole family for a day, but now 30 isn’t enough,” she said. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Shoppers grumble as South Sudan oil shutdown drags on
Oil shutdown in dispute with Sudan has hit economy * Inflation up, work more scarce in Africa’s newest country By Alexander Dziadosz BOR, South Sudan, April 3 (Reuters) – Amburose Gift expected to make good money in South Sudan when he moved to the 
South Sudan applies to join IPU
New Vision
By Henry Mukasa The new state of South Sudan has applied to join the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and pleaded to the world body to mount pressure on Khartoum so as to avert a looming war over border disagreements. South SudanLegislative Assembly 

EU Concerned Over Sudan’s ‘Take No Prisoners’ Policy
RTT News
South Kordofan state is the North’s only oil-producing state. It is home to many pro-Southcommunities, many of whom had earlier fought along side the former southern rebel group– theSudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)– against Khartoum during the 

By Agereb Leek Chol, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA 4/2/2012 To whom it may concern: Government of South Sudan (GoSS, Greater Bor Community, Atuot Community, Aliap Community, Bahr el Ghazal Community, Nuer Community, Shilluk Community, Yirol Community, Mundari Community, Murle Community, Equatoria Community, Ngok Community, Misseriya Community, and South Sudan Youth.

It came to my attention that Egypt’s company has begun their project to dredge Nile tributaries this month. William Gatjang Gieng, Unity State Minister of Environments and Natural Resources in Unity state, said “that the teams from the Egyptian company are working to deepen the river to allow more boats to transport goods and people. One team will dredge the Naam River from Rubkotna junction in Unity State to Lake No just north of the Sudd swamp, where the Bahr el Ghazal River meets the River Kiir. Another project will start from Wetmachar Achol in Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, to Wangkeay Bridge “(Borglobe). The question is what are the advantages and disadvantages for this project to the Sudd Wetlands in South Sudan? It should be apparent that Egyptian government will take any opportunity to increase the Nile water flow by drying up the wetlands since Jonglei Canal scheme failed during the civil war.

It is obvious that South Sudan depend on food transported from Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. I wonder why South Sudanese are reluctant to farm nowadays. Perhaps insecurity and the new found wealth from oil is derailing agricultural production. John Kudusay once asked in his song, “who is the UN”? He says, “the UN is like us. He’s born like us and then he goes to school. After finishing school, he then go around the world and help those who need help”. It would be nice everyone in South Sudan had this mentality. “The government hopes that improving river transport will allow goods and services to flow more freely and make it easier to trade and do business” (Borglobe).  Despite the rise of food prices in Unity state, is this project necessary to spend 26.6 million dollars instead of building better roads in South Sudan? Why rush and clean the Nile River knowing South Sudan and Sudan have many issues that can return both countries to war? God forbid the SAF will not use the Nile River to attack the Republic of South Sudan if both countries were to return to war.

The attempt to dry up the Sudd in South Sudan was first envisioned by the Britain and Egypt government who jointly ruled Sudan in the 1930s. This project came be known as Jonglei Canal. The goal was to provide 20 million m3 of water per day to Egypt for agriculture use. “The project would shrink the wetlands by approximately 40%. A second phase for the project was also planned, which would completely dry up the wetlands” (Allen, 2010). However, this project never materialized until it was resurrected in the 1970s by Nimeiri government. Nimeiri believed that the Jonglei Canal would facilitate “national development” in South Sudan. Obviously, Nimeiri had no intention to develop South Sudan. Despite the opposition by politicians from South Sudan, Jonglei project proceeded. Lucky, the SPLA derailed the construction by destroying the equipment sometimes in 1983. “The Sudd Wetlands, located in Southern Sudan, is one of African’s largest wetlands (30,000-40,000 KM2, formed from the spillage of water from the Nile. The wetland supports a diversity of ecosystems with a reach flora and fauna” (IWMI), 2008).

Who will be affected if sudd wetlands dry up?

The Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk pastoralists tribes depend on the sudd to graze their livestock, and for farming during dry seasons. Not only that, Sudd provides enormous fish production for local people who live in rural areas. In fact, if it wasn’t for these swamps during Sudan’s civil war, majority of civilians would have starved to death. There is no doubt if the Sudd wetlands dry up, South Sudanese will have to transport fish from neighboring countries. I would argue that if were not for sudd wetlands, the Sudanese Armed Forces would have weakened the SPLA because they could have easily navigated through the Nile River by boat.

The question is what will these tribes do when these areas dry up? Perhaps the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) is tired of the killing caused by cattle rustling. Clearly, if these areas dry up, Sudd wetlands will experience a decrease of rainfalls and an area about 30,000 square kilometer will become a desert. Can the GoSS afford the sudd wetlands to dry up so the Nile River is passable by boats?

Secondly, the GoSS can’t ignore the vegetation and ecosystem that would be lost if this vast region becomes a desert. The question is what will happen to 400 species of birds and animals that rely on these wetlands? There is no doubt these species will die, and the Nile River will never be the same again. In 2008, Kenyan wildlife tourism was around 70% of Kenyan total revenue. The Sudd wetlands is a potential tourist destination if the GoSS invest their time instead of letting the Egyptian government exploit their vulnerable position. In conclusion, the GoSS needs to stop this project immediately because it will change many lives in South Sudan. The GoSS need to look at the long term affects instead of relying on short term solutions. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the catastrophe this project would cause to many species in South Sudan. I hope bribery didn’t influence the minister’s decision. What’s the difference between Jonglei Canal and dredging of the Nile River? Why can’t the GoSS use 26.6 million dollars to connect many roads in South Sudan instead of relying on the river for transportation? Why can’t the government use these funds to develop agricultural production instead? Until the Nile water agreement of 1929 is abolished by the riparian countries, the GoSS needs to be careful because the Egyptian government doesn’t serve the interest of South Sudan. The minister should consult external experts who have no interest in the Nile River. Secondly, Sudd wetlands need to be surveyed first to understand who will be affected by the project. If the GoSS allow this project to continue then why not let the Jonglei Canal resume. Lastly, I urge the Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk tribes who rely on the Sudd wetlands to alert their governors, commissioners, and their chiefs to alert the government about the disaster this project will do to the ecosystem. This project will affect these tribes in the short term, but the entire country will regret this in the future. Failure to act will lead to water wars within South Sudan years from now. The Dinka and Nuer will no longer have “toch” to graze their livestock during dry season. The Nilotic cultures will be lost, and everyone will have to move to ‘modern cities’ and abandon the so-called “backward society”. Maybe this is one way to uproot the Nilotic culture indirectly. Most importantly, fishing will be limited unless one has modern equipment to fish in a ‘deep Nile’ River. Let’s not have rising food prices influence our decision. This problem can be solved easily if everyone gets their act together by holding their constituents accountable. We can’t keep saying if Dr. Garang de Mabior was alive today, South Sudan will be a better place. There is no doubt if he was alive, things might be different, but mourning him every day will not do us any good! Dr. Garang de Mabior and his comrades emancipated South Sudanese from Bashir’s regime, but now it’s our turn to carry on the torch. Wake up Southerners, this project will turn the Republic of South Sudan into a desert. It’s not too late to stop this project. This author is a concern citizen. He can be reach at

Amid Tensions, Sudan-South Sudan Talks on Hold

Posted: April 3, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Sudan, South Sudan meet for crisis talks after fighting

AFPBy Jenny Vaughan | AFP –

Senior officials from Sudan and South Sudan met Monday for the first face-to-face talks since heavy fighting between their armies broke out last week in disputed oil-rich border regions.

As senior envoys met in Ethiopia, US President Barack Obamacalled US-backed South Sudan President Salva Kiir to urge restraint.

Bloody clashes including airstrikes, tanks and heavy artillery — the worst violence since South Sudan’s independence in July — had raised international concerns the former civil war foes could return to all-out war.

Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, who met his southern counterpart John Kong Nyuon with their respective delegations, said he hoped the meeting would result in a signed deal.

“We agreed that this tension between the two countries should be released,” Hussein said.

Southern Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said talks were ongoing, but added claims that Khartoum was “still bombing” border areas in the South.

“South Sudan is determined to ensure a return to war is avoided and to peacefully resolve the outstanding issues,” he told reporters in Nairobi.

“It is time to leave the path of confrontation and war, and walk the path of peace in the interest of the people of Sudan and South Sudan.”

A White House statement said that in his phone call, Obama “expressed concern about the growing tensions” between the two nations including border clashes and bloodshed in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state.

“President Obama underscored the importance of avoiding unilateral actions, and asked President Kiir to ensure that South Sudan’s military exercises maximum restraint and is not involved in or supporting fighting along the border, particularly in Southern Kordofan,” it said.

Delegations from both countries were in the Ethiopian capital for crisis talks that were stalled after both sides accused each other of initiating the clashes.

Sudan’s army late Sunday claimed South Sudanese forces launched another push into the Heglig oil region — a disputed area controlled by Khartoum — accusations denied by Juba.

Tensions remain high between their armies along the border, and both sides have traded furious rhetoric.

“It is very clear that the aggression is from their side,” said Badreldin Abdalla, a senior official at Sudan’s foreign ministry attending the talks, adding that Khartoum was “committed to peace.”

“Sudan’s government is not for war, it is not for conflict again,” Abdalla said ahead of Monday’s meeting.

Juba’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Sunday accused the north of “waging war” and said Khartoum was planning fresh attacks.

However, Amum was seen to greet Sudanese officials warmly before the meeting began, shaking the hands of officials from Khartoum.

The disputed border between the two countries is undemarcated, and tensions along the frontier have mounted since South Sudan separated after an overwhelming independence vote, following Africa’s longest war.

Talks were scheduled to take place Saturday, but Juba said negotiations were delayed because Sudan failed to send their defence minister, who arrived in Addis Ababa Monday.

Last week’s clashes prompted Khartoum to call off an April 3 summit in Juba between President Omar al-Bashir and the South’s Salva Kiir.

Analysts said there were elements in Khartoum, as well as the South, opposed to recent moves towards warmer relations between the two countries and suggested last week’s flare-up over Heglig was an effort to sabotage a rapprochement.

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