Is the Proposed Construction of Ramciel City a Misplaced Priority Amidst a Civil War?

Posted: April 24, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Economy, Junub Sudan, Mareng Makwei, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Fidele Mareng Makwei – Australia

Ramciel, the new capital city of South Sudan

Ramciel, the new capital city of South Sudan

April 24, 2018 (SSB) — I have been reading reports on social media about the determination of South Sudan to build a new city of Ramciel and reallocation of the capital. However, I have this question lingering in mind: is building a new city at this time in South Sudan a misplaced priority?

I believe that building of an alternative, spacious city where every citizen in South Sudan feels proud about is vital. However, I think the building of Ramciel at this time when civil war has paralyzed every aspect of lives in the country is a misguided priority. I reckon South Sudan should focus on pressing priorities which are but not limited to the following:

Although peace and political stability is important and is urgently needed in South Sudan, it is not the focus of this article because of the current political situation in the country, in other words; it is not only the responsibility of the sitting government to bring peace to the country but all other political forces bear the same responsibility. Therefore, my focus is on issues that fall under the government jurisdiction.

In my humble opinion, South Sudan should now focus on mega national projects that have both short and long-term economic benefits. One of these is further development of oil industry and in particular refining of crude oils. I have little knowledge on the progress of South Sudan oil refinery project. However, if this project is fast-tracked and completed at this crucial time, it would not only provide the public with cheap fuel but also provide the government with export goods to other countries.

In short team, this could relief current fuel crisis in the country and also able long-term economic growth in the country. The South Sudan citizens would appreciate these economic benefits than the building of a new modern city powered by imported and highly expansive refined fuel from other countries. This brings me to another national project that could provide immediate benefits to the country.

Who would want multi-billions, state-of-art modern city to be powered by sooty generators? South Sudan should focus on providing grid electricity to at least 10% of its urban population. I don’t have the statistic, but I believe that only less 1% of South Sudan urban population have excess to electricity while the whole country population lives in a total darkness. I believe we don’t want to be comfortable with this just because our ancestors were.

The world is developing at an alarming rate because of cut and paste of technologies or at best, because of innovation and creativity. South Sudan should exploit the currently available knowledge and technologies to provide energy to her population. There are many ways of generating power. These include solar thermal energy, coal power plant, nuclear power plant and crude oil power plant. South Sudan has the potential to invest in large solar thermal farm or crude oil power plants.

The provision of enough electricity power has potential to kick-start the industrialization in South Sudan. Believe me or not, power is a key factor for foreign investors’ decision making. Who would want to build a factory powered by a diesel generator?  For South Sudan to be prosperous in the next 50 years or so, it has to identify now and start working on the provision of grid electricity.

Furthermore, a nation that doesn’t feed its citizen is like a father or mother that doesn’t provide food to the family. South Sudan needs to engage in an aggressive food production policy that has the potential to impact on the lives of many. For example, investing in large-scale irrigation scheme for sugar plantation or other food crops for that matter would require small capital than the building of a capital city, but still, provide immediate economic benefits to the country.

We are currently importing sugar and many manufactured goods from other countries, for how long do we want to do this? The development of agriculture sector which is vital for South Sudan economy requires the development of high-quality road and rails networks—not the current impassable roads in the country. These should receive high priority rather than procrastinating on projects that would not relieve current economic stress on the country.

Also, the development of other resources such as minerals would potentially boost South Sudan’s crippled economy. To illustrate this, South Sudan is reported to have deposits of high-quality calcite (calcium carbonate) which is the main ingredients for cement. Imagine tonnes of cement that would be required for the building of a new city.

This is money in the “drain” because we have no cement factory. It is all imported from other countries. However, if the country focuses on developing some of these limestones deposits and produces its own cement. It would bring significant economic benefits to the country’s growing infrastructures.

Last but not less, South Sudan needs clean running water in at least its major cities. Imagine the multi-apartment building with plastic or polyethylene tank to provide for its water needs or a modern city without proper sewage system! This is how I imagine our Ramciel if built with such a rush. South Sudan can invest in capturing, cleaning and piping the vast Nile water resources to its major cities.

If this is done, the new city would have the proper water system and this would increase land value for the government. I see myself buying a piece of land in Ramciel with all amenities such as running water, electricity and sewage system in place. My work would be only to build my house without worrying about power and water. We should not forget that these amenities are sources of revenue to the government.

In author opinion, the building of a new capital city (Ramciel) in South Sudan right now is a misplaced priority. South Sudan could benefits in short or long term if she invests in other mega-projects such as the building of viable crude oil refinery, generation of power from burning of crude oil or solar thermal energy, development of agriculture and mining sector, and provision of potable water and better road networks.

With these in place, South Sudan is likely to build a lavish national capital with easy.

You can reach the author via his email: fidele mareng <fmareng@yahoo.co.uk>           

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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