A WEEK TO INDEPENDENCE AND COUNTING
As the 09th of July inches closer and closer the entire South, inspite of a series of problems caused by its erstwhile slave masters and warlords in Khartoum, is preparing for the big day of Independence, with the eyes of the entire continent and in fact the world focused on the event.
Ahead of the celebrations has Vice President Riek Machar Teny who just returned home from an extensive tour of the United States, announced a half trillion US Dollars investment rush for the new Republic of South Sudan to develop infrastructure like highways, roads, rail, bridges, airports and aerodromes, hydro electric power plants and dams, but also affordable housing, hospitals, educational facilities and administrative service centres across the vast territory besides heavily investing also in oil development like a pipeline going South to export the commodity through ‘friendly’ neighbouring countries and reducing dependence on the currently single pipeline for oil exports via Port Sudan at the Red Sea.
While big money has been pledged to the new country already from the World Bank and the world’s major economic blocks and powers, much of the projected investments will come from private sector sources, since the new republic is seen as virgin territory for investments and for doing business with. In this regard it was also learned that the United Arab Emirates will be hosting a major investment conference for the South Sudan later this year where the global business community will have the opportunity to learn firsthand what potential there is in the new country, from oil over agriculture to agro processing, forestry, manufacturing and tourism, to name but a few key sectors already identified as key to the South’s future development.
In regard of tourism has the South Sudan worked for several years now with the US based Wildlife Conservation Society to identify game migration patterns, establish game numbers through aerial and ground surveys and devise methods to protect in particular the great migration of the white eared kobs emerging from and then returning to the Boma National Park along the borders with Ethiopia, said to be the world’s second largest migration of animals after the Serengeti to Masai Mara migration of the wildebeest.
The government of the South Sudan is also said to be setting aside more resources in the future management of the presently 6 national parks and over a dozen game reserves already in place, while considering to declare yet more areas as both parks and reserves in order to stimulate wildlife based tourism after independence.
In a related development it was also learned from regular sources in Juba that Google Earth will undertake a major mapping exercise across the newly emerging country, working hand in hand with local residents and with the support of such illustrious names as UNOSAT, RCMRD and the World Bank, to provide detailed maps of the new country for visitors, both real and via the internet.
Watch this space as the countdown now goes into the final week before Independence and the final closure of a sad chapter in Sudan’s history where the African people of the united Sudan were at the receiving end of exploitation, domination and well near slavery conditions by their Khartoum based ‘masters’ – it is time now to shake off the yoke.