The top African news of the moment may not be the fact that last December, Time magazine placed positive African news on its cover. On the cover, the magazine reported substantive facts, statistics, and lessons about economic growth and improvement in African way of life in the last decade.
Similarly, the experts at The Economist said, “After decades of slow growth, Africa has a real chance to follow in the footsteps of Asia.”
For the time being, the top African news is that the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS), after gaining independence from its northern neighbor, the Republic of Sudan (RoS), faces daunting development and survival challenges. Geographically, the country is three times the size of Texas; it has the world’s largest swamp, has lots of minerals and oil deposits, and is the home of the incredible Nuba Mountains.
Its survival challenges pit the nation against not only its northern neighbor but against itself. The country is still beset by tribal warfare, is resource-poor, landlocked, and in need of basic infrastructure to help it gain its footing. Such a “dubious criteria” has contributed to the attention that the country gains at every step on its way towards development.
At an International Engagement Conference for South Sudan held in Washington D.C. in December, United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, compared the nation to the world’s “tiniest of babies” that “does need intensive care.” With these challenges, South Sudan places among the least developed nations in the world.
As the world’s newest nation, the 173rd member of the United Nations (UN), and 54th member of the African Union (AU), the country was born July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with the Khartoum government of President Omar al-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan. Bashir is currently a wanted man by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for brutalities and other injustices against the people of South Sudan.
According to the Washington Post, South Sudan emerged from “a brutal 25-year conflict in which an estimated 2 to 3 million people were killed.” But after independence, now “there is a real weariness with war (in the north as well as south) and a desire for education and development,” a view held by Nick Kristof of The New York Times, who was in South Sudan at the dawn of Independence.
Today, the country is working to build diplomatic relationships with other nations, setting up international trade agreements, and essentially attempting to do what established nations do, to run and function like a country. But this is a daunting, yet not an impossible task.