South Sudan – The World Has a New Country
South Sudan has become the newest country in the world as it became an independent nation from Sudan today, officially recognised by it’s neighbour and by the UN.
The move was made possible after the peace treaty in 2005 between the warring north and south of Sudan. Decades of conflict had witnessed some estimated 1.5 million people perished in Africa’s longest running conflict.
The Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir and head of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon were both present at the independence ceremony in Juba, the new nations capital Juba.
South Sudan now becomes the 193rd country to be a member of the United Nations and the 54th officially recognised state in Africa.
Hours before the official change of statesmanship, the people of Juba were out on the streets celebrating, waving their new national flag, banging drums and chanting their Presidents name.
There will be challenges ahead for the new country, there are still some groups skirmishing in the border regions and it has real problems with education, with 84% of women illiterate and less than 1% of children finishing primary school in it’s poorest regions. In health there are many issues including a very high mortality rate in child birth.
However, South Sudan is a large country of almost 240,000 sq. miles and contains a large number of oil fields where it currently shares revenue with the North. A position that will have to be re-negotiated.
So the future looks brighter for the newest African nation, supported by the US and the UN. With large oil revenues and no fighting, growth could be rapid.