South Sudan – an emerging name from the prolonged civil war and trenchant internal turbulence between North and South Sudan. While most people are rejoicing the advent of South Sudan, development and infrastructure still lay far behind. Where half the population doesn’t have access to health facilities and 90% of the population live on less than $1 a day, independence is itself a challenge. But this challenge can only be overcome if the South Sudanese believe that they are independent and can get themselves and their children educated to join everyone else in the world in the longrun.
Let us first consider financial aid and support. Among the international organizations, UN, UNDP, USAID etc., are all eager to give buttress to wane the conflicts centering South Sudan. Among the local organizations, the Sudan Microfinance Institution (SUMI) has taken an attempt of donating a loan of half a million dollars to more than 1,600 clients. Moreover, BRAC (South Sudan) has already started microfinance and Income Generation for Vulnerable Group Development Program (IGVGDP). Generating Economic Development through Microfinance in South Sudan (GEMSS) has undertaken a 3-year $11 million dollar project to provide support to the micro and macro levels of industry. Besides that, import business of oil, chemicals and agricultural products can also bolster the economy of South Sudan. What we need now is an infrastructure and framework to apply the capital properly.
It is unequivocal that behind all the upheaval and commotion continuing in South Sudan, two of the most prominent reasons are illiteracy and unemployment. Building schools to provide at least minimum education to the children and generating employment are the keys factors for solving the dispute and disruption. Agriculture can be one of the most important sources of generating employment, food and income. But for this, people should be provided with ample knowledge and ideas about agricultural products and equipment, proper transportation systems and a preliminary loan without any interest. In this regard, the Rev Thomas Anei can be cited as an example in establishing microfinance in the southern village of Lietnhom, helping set up Southern Sudan’s first community-owned village bank and providing training for local residents to start and manage small businesses. Agricultural training centers at Bahr’el Ghazal and Upper Nile can produce training level personnel needed for effective intervention. Moreover, a freely operating market mechanism is one of the best ways to ensure equality, employment and self-reliance in South Sudan. If Wol Akujang can make a difference after coming to his native land, it is high time South Sudanese understood the importance of infrastructure, framework and a local organization.
A local managing association can be established in each locality to ensure inspection and overall survey of the local businesses, assist training and distribute aid in an organized manner. Furthermore, it must be mentioned that now it is not actually a challenge but an opportunity that South Sudanese are about to face to change the virulent misfortune that brought them to the present situation.
By Sarah Nahar Chowdhury