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Vol 51 No 22

Published 5th November 2010


The boom in Juba and its consequences

Talk of war might be in the air but Juba is booming. Building sites are around every corner of South Sudan’s capital and so are foreign delegations and contract-wielding business people. Expecting independence next year, the South is marketing itself as a virgin land rich in oil, minerals and fertile soil. As one of the last remaining markets to open up to a world economy battling for natural resources, commercial and diplomatic interest is growing fast in the new state.

The National Congress Party regime in Khartoum wants to delay January’s referenda on the status of the South and Abyei. Discussions about oil revenue and borders are unresolved and postponement threatens. As Africa Confidentialwent to press, the idea that the referenda could be postponed ‘for technical reasons’ was gradually – and with ample NCP encouragement – sliding into respectability. The danger of Southern towns and cities exploding if the Southern referendum were postponed is considerable.

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