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South Sudan after independence: opportunities and challenges

First of all and not surprisingly, independency has lead to a different atmosphere in the country. People have hope of a better future. Again, this is not surprising. However, though independence has been an important morale-booster for the southerners, it also represents a challenge. Opposition to the north played an important unifying role for the south, to the extent that the idea of a homogeneous south became accepted in the public consciousness. The absence of the northern factor creates a new reality for southerners where they have to confront a multi-tribal domestic context, as well as a host of other divisive factors based on the ways in which tribes and ethnic groups perceive each other. This is in addition to the potential for conflict over the acquisition of power, influence and resources for survival.

Against that backdrop practicalities matter as well. For example the new South Sudanese Pound (SSP) has been introduced, with a very ambitious 2 month window for exchange from the old currency, the Sudanese Pound. This means that all ‘old’ SSP should have been spent before 1 September. However, the new currency has not arrived at some locations, particularly those that are more isolated. This does not only pose a problem for the South Sudanese government and their aim to replace the old currency, but especially citizens unable to reach a bank.

It seems the government has taken a strong initiative to tackle every aspect of forming their new nation. It is a well known fact that all laws will be revised for the employed South Sudanese; labor laws look as though they might be set to change. What consequences this might bring for both South Sudanese and their employers is yet to be seen.

All in all, opportunities are abound. But so are the challenges.












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