South Sudan’s new state will face challenges over people’s high expectation
January 18, 2011 (JUBA) – As preliminary official results of the South Sudan referendum on secession from the north indicate an overwhelming vote in favour of secession, senior members of the government have begun to shift focus on what is expected of the new nation.
A child holding a South Sudan flag (fatumafeatures)
Official preliminary results from the centres in South Sudan, north Sudan and the Diaspora have shown overwhelming vote for secession; most of them are above 97%.
Meeting with potential foreign investors in the region’s capital, Juba, on 18 January, the Vice President of the semi-autonomous government, Riek Machar, said the next challenge after the referendum is meeting or managing the high expectations which the people of South Sudan have attached to independence.
“The referendum is finished. When the flag is raised [if the result announced in July is in favour of secession] and we tell our people that you are now independent, they will say, well, independence; we want to see its fruits,” he told the Chinese investors.”
Machar said the Government of Southern Sudan would continue to provide an enabling environment, which will attract investors in all sectors of development, in order to speedily meet the people’s expectations in the new independent state.
The oil producing region is lacking in almost every sector of development, but has promising riches in natural resources and arable land.
The newly independent state, currently among the world’s poorest regions in terms of development, will have to face the challenges of building new hospitals, schools, roads, decent housing, producing food to feed its populations while providing security and a peaceful political environment.