Thursday, December 17, 2009

ICG: Sudan Headed Toward Violent BreakU p

New analysis by the International Crisis Group. In my opinion, they usually either state the obvious too late or give a general worst-case scenario. I think the latter is applied here.

Will Sudan break up? This is a near certainly.

Will that break up happen violently? Yes and no.

Yes, the northern security apparatus will fight to hold onto northern oil areas and Darfur. I dont believe they can fight effectively to hold on to the south. They dont have the depth of power projection required to do it effectively. That's not to say they cant or wont try -- they are notorious for making bad decisions and choosing the worst path given any choice. It's a gamble they might not be willing to risk; war on the south and in Darfur would require a security presence to guard Khartoum that they cant afford.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Bottom Line

Well, after months of wrangling, and some broken china, it appears that one of the largest hurdles toward CPA implementation has been crossed.

In a nutshell: in order for a referendum for separation by the South to be valid, it must have a majority vote of 51% and must have participation of at least 60% of the registered voters.

A fundamentally critical issue and its conclusion (if it is indeed final) is a very bright development for peace in Sudan.

Now, on to Abeyei.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sorry for the blackout

Been traveling and such. Posting/pontificating/postulating shall resume forthwith.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Referendum and Election Law Negotiations Continue Between NCP and SPLM

Both sides are digging in, with some outside observations from the UNMIS head of elections observation. Actually, quite unhelpful comments from the UNMIS rep. Check out the article here.

For what it is worth, and in case this is the first election observation/participation for some, the parties will always haggle over the process. It is, in my opinion, a critical process in the essence of elections and plebiscites. It engenders a sense of transparency, legitimacy and fosters broad participation.

If there are outside "official" groups who have a thought to share on their opinion of the election, the parties' political and process needs, then it might be best to hold their fire or share their thoughts more discreetly. Public comments. like those of the UNMIS representative only throw weight (unfairly, many would argue) toward one argument.

Meanwhile, the USG is a bit more forward leaning on the process, according to this article. Gration is appears to be getting on side with the Don't-Drop-Sanctions-On-Khartoum-stance, and the SPLM seems to be qualifying their recent comments on unilateral declaration of independence. Story here.

And finally, Gration is claiming victory (progress?) on a non-agreement on the outstanding CPA issues. Except it does not cover the census, the referendum or other critical points that are currently under hot debate. BBC is reporting the story here. One more inane pointer: When it comes to mediating between the parties, "process" (like this) is no replacement for substance. Signing agreements that don't mean anything only give the obstinate a victory when they should be getting further pressure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

News Report: SPLM Says Unilateral Declaration of Independence is Possible

The big story this week is the SPLM's signal that they wont take UDI off the table if the NCP makes unreasonable demands on the upcoming referendum. A link to the story is here.

A shot across the bow, certainly, but there are a few mitigating circumstances behind this strong signal from the SPLM worth considering:

1.) The referendum is sacrosanct in the minds of the Southerners, not just the SPLM. All feel that the NCP will attempt to place conditions on the process so ridiculous that the entire effort will be thrown into disarray, delayed and/or undermined by a lack of confidence. The conditions they're bringing to the table in the discussions of this process reflect that reality.

2.) The US was supposed to act as the defacto principal guarantor of the CPA, but that has changed. The USG position is floundering somewhere between "nuanced diplomacy" with the NCP and quibbling over humanitarian access in Darfur. The Obama Administration has neither an idea of what it wants to see accomplished in Sudan, nor does it appear to be on a track towards trying to find those objectives.

The SPLM has been frustrated with the Obama Administration with its floundering and sees it has to help them refocus on the project at hand, namely the CPA. Throwing down the UDI card is the best/only way to help Washington refocus on its role of being the principal guarantor of the CPA. Let's see how they respond.

3.) The final point is that succession by referendum in the South is virtually a given. This will be a serious black eye to Khartoum and the NCP. Forcing the SPLM and the south to break it off by a UDI is a face saving tack they can take. Unfortunately, getting tough by the SPLM on this issue only walks into their trap.

Bottom line: this marker laid down by the SPLM isnt coming out of left field; it's the consequence of existing realities. They're simply getting tougher in order to realign allies and keep the NCP on the defensive.

Monday, August 10, 2009

GOSS Shuffles Ministry Undersecretaries

The GOSS has just announced the a reshuffle of Ministry Undersecretaries as of today.

The changes include:

Dr. Cirino Hiteng -- Ministry of Presidential Affairs:
Rebecca Joshua Kwaci – Pubic Service
Majok Mading – National Expert to the FVP Office
Gorge Justin Achor – Ministry of Regional Cooperation
Deng Biong Majak – Legal Affairs
Daniel Wani – Housing
Dr. Makuei Malual – Agriculture
Lt gen Frasier tong – Wildlife and Tourism
Chuor Deng Mareng – Commerce and Industry
William Acer Maciek – Energy and Mining
Mark Zenabayeo- Employees Justice
Raymond Pitia Morebe -- Roads and Transportation
Waragak Gatluak -- Animal Resources
Martin Mou Mou -- Education Science and Technology
Willaim Ater Maciek – Energy and Mining
Rebecca Joshua Kwacha -- Public Service

Monday, August 3, 2009

Abyei Follow Up: Local Tribes Hold Peace Conference

Ngok Dinka and Messeria tribes held a peace conference this week to cement the recent Abyei ruling.

An auspicious event, to be certain, but certainly one of many to come.

Read the story here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Interesting Abyei News Roundup Report

A pretty good summary report of the Abyei decision and outcome is here.

The decison, as noted in earlier posts solidly defines the territory of the Ngok Dinka and (in a bit of over simplification on my part) defines much of the disputed area of Abyei into Southern Sudan.


The two most productive oilfields (Heglig, Bamboo) in the area were not included in the definition of Abyei. That means that unless the north-south boundary commission and the oil commission don't find a solution internally, there will be another arbitration process (yet to be defined).

So, is this a good or bad development? I think neither. It is a necessary process that will be undertaken no matter what happens in Sudan's future.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Abyei: A Great Development, But Not the End

We've been talking about the importance of the recent development on Abyei in this blog. The arbitration process underway in the Hague issued its ruling last night.

It was accepted by both parties in a bright and substantial statement.

This means: tension should diminish as both sides forces' move apart. The communities need to be briefed on the development, which takes time, but had already prepared for this outcome.

Here's the qualifier: the Hague's finding on the common border opened up a new dispute over the common boundaries of Heglig and Bamboo oil fields to the east and west of Abyei, respectively.

Is this as fraught with danger as the total Abyei process? I don't believe so. Determining what percentage of an asset that straddles a common boundary is a common practice in the oil industry and between neighbors.

Bottom line: solution mostly in place. Tensions reduced. New issues to be resolved have lower political stakes and can be resolved amicably.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bashir's take on the North/South Peace Process: "Satisfactory"

Read the story here.

This would have been an important time for President Bashir to reiterate his confidence in the outcome of the Abyei arbitration effort.

Abeyi Developments Forthcoming -- A Significant Milestone in Sudan's Future

Lots has been written here on this blog regarding the disputed Abyei area in regards to Sudan's future and its stability.

The exact demarcation of the area, straddling the border of north and south Sudan, has been a contentious issue for several reasons; the significant oil deposits in it, the historical implications of the boundary location (prioritizing tribal and colonial boundaries vs. contemporary boundaries); and the win/lose sentiment of regional political constituencies (whether or not important constituencies of the north or the south achieve their local objectives). Needless to say, it has been a high-stakes process.

The international arbitration effort underway in the Hague will give their final report on the process on the 23rd of July. That will be the date to watch this space. It is a key indicator of the future of the north/south peace.

The Government of Southern Sudan has reiterated their willingness to accept the outcome, come what may, while the NCP in Khartoum hasn't renewed their earlier commitment to live up to the arbitration's outcome. This may be something to consider, but it could be inconsequential; the NCP could simply have overlooked their need to state a continued confidence in the process and willingness to abide by the outcome. Either way, we shall soon see what the ruling will bring.

More here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Economist story on South Sudan's Wildlife

A very controversial situation amongst wildlife conservation folks working in South Sudan right now.

Short story: through an unusual and very unclear process, an organization apparently linked to the UAE royal family, has acquired unfettered access to a large swath of land in Southern Sudan for "wildlife enjoyment purposes" (this is our description). The organization is pouring resources into the area, presumably for infrastructure improvements linked to the project, but the public is not quite sure.

No doubt over time this will garner more publicity in the wildlife industry and more questions will certainly emerge. Unanswered questions on projects are always a problem in this area; murky situations always draw speculation and bad press that is neither helpful nor productive toward the larger goal of improving the local wildlife industries' viability.

Since there are too few answers and we only wish success for an enterprise wanting to accomplish something of this size and scale, we'll only state this: businesses can learn from their possibly precarious situation. Marketing, CSR and public information campaigns cannot be overlooked when undertaking projects in Southern Sudan.

Any business wanting to enter this market should be sure to include these elements in your business planning. DR&A can certainly help if you have questions. It's worth even a smattering of planning, time and energy to prevent a reputation hit like this from The Economist.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Breaking News: Sudan Delays Elections Again -- and why this is a good thing

A few posts down readers can see the election laws and time line from the National Election Board. If you look closely at the time line for the original Feb, 2010 election it reads that the registration should begin . . . June 2 or thereabouts. That did not happen, nor would it happen in another few months.

The country still needs its constituent areas demarcated on the ground, the Abyei issue definitively resolved, and the political tug-of-war dealt with on the census. This delay gives the parties to the CPA time enough to get these issues behind them and settled. Without -- at a minimum -- these issues definitively addressed, any plebiscite, regardless of the outcome, risks its legitimacy.

In our opinion; thumbs up to this delay.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on Banking in South Sudan

We've written a few outlines on the banking industry in Southern Sudan on this blog. It is still an under serviced industry with inevitable growth and plenty of room for investment.

Here's a Gurtong banking story that gives some decent background on the banks operating in South Sudan today. Read the article here.

South Sudan Government and Business Stakeholders Call for Review of Taxation Procedures

Good article from Gurtong on the trouble with taxes in Southern Sudan. For those unaware, the Government of National Unity in Khartoum, the Government of Southern Sudan, the individual sates and local municipalities have the ability to impose taxes. Often, all do so making the cost of doing business expensive and driving up the cost of living.

It is a good development that the GOSS is meeting with business leaders to discuss the problem of double and even triple taxation, and what to do about it. I'd rate this as a major step forward. Let's see if they can build and maintain some momentum on this. Read the article here for more.

Sudan Election Documents and Timelines

The proposed timeline for the elections is here. What proposed means, in this environment, is that things are always subject to change.

The National Election Act of 2008 is here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GOSS and US Govt Sign $203 Million New Grant Deal

A long time in the works, the GOSS and USAID signed an agreement on a new development grant (not a loan, a grant). The $203 million grant will focus on a few cherry picked programs; womens' education, health issues that deal with malaria and such, and some ambiguous governance and elections issues.

We're a proponent of development aid, as long as it fosters the fragile economic conditions of an environment like Southern Sudan's. Inundations of food aid, and other free commodities, removal of the most productive individuals from the labor pool for unproductive aid project "administration", etc., all retard local economies.

For example, the prolonged (and still underway) inundation of food aid has almost killed off South Sudan's indigenous agricultural production. Why would local farmers clear and farm land when others give food and food products for free? An unintended consequence of food aid being applied too long and too generously, certainly, but a stark reminder that not every "solution" is a solution.

We'll look for the link to the whole agreement and post it later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Two Sudans are Better Than One - The Weekly Standard.

TWS is a widely-read weekly news/politics magazine in the US. Yes, it has a decidedly conservative tilt, but its editorials and features are well argued, concise and timely.

Speaking of timely, check out its analysis on the north/south situation. The article, I think, represents the first major pronouncement/article that spells out a rational argument for succession by the south.

Read it here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

GOSS Cabinet reshuffle

Business and politics observers have been itching for a cabinet reshuffle within GOSS for some time. Financial and security mis-steps have caused justifiable concerns in the past 6 months, and have provided a few distractions for the GOSS when they have larger issues to deal with (elections, Darfur, Khartoum in general). This personnel change is a very strong start toward a government providing Southern Sudan with the service it needs.

Here's the reshuffle list.

A further point of explanation is necessary when looking at the GOSS cabinet; the country is a multicultural, multi tribal, and multi lingual -- the cabinet must reflect these realities and ensure that all groups from all areas are represented substantially in the leadership. It is my opinion that the best candidates were assigned the portfolios that needed their competent attention.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Introducing Luri River Development -- South Sudan's largest property development project

Juba and most of the southern reaches of South Sudan are poorly served in terms of freight handling, transportation nodes, and the ability to fully utilize the Nile as a transportation asset.

Luri River Development (LRD) is a solution that addresses all of these challenges, and more.

LRD is a 60-plus hectare mixed-use development site within the city limits of Juba, South Sudan. The project site is a mere 5 kilometers from Juba International Airport and includes 1200 meter of deep-water river front.

LRD envisions a 3-part, mixed-use development scheme; a port, storage and handling facility; a hotel, retail and commercial area; and of course residential properties. This project is the largest of its kind; no where else in the Juba area can one find river front property, privately owned and managed, and ready for immediate development and occupation.

We are currently meeting with developers and those who are interested in this optimally-located, pristine site.

Questions about the LRD project can be sent to us at david @ We'll be happy to discuss the many opportunities this property can offer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Agriculture in Southern Sudan

In simple terms, Southern Sudan is a pre-emerging market. It is not yet an agriculture-based economy; it's more of what an economist would describe as a transitional environment: transitioning from a conflict-zone/relief-dependent environment to a trading/post-war/subsistence economy. The principal economic endeavors include importation/retail activities and servicing local government and bilateral donors' development projects. Not much more.

There exists almost every demand one would imagine in Southern Sudan. The most lucrative, and the one with the highest potential is agriculture. With surplus arable land, getting into the business of farming is becoming a issue to on-the-ground investors of a question of not if, but when and how big. Almost all of the food is imported form Uganda (!) at remarkable cost (taxes and transport). There is unlimited potential.

Farming and agricultural activities do exist in Southern Sudan, but they were hammered by the war and the subsequent flooding of the market by donors of their free grain, oils and relief aid. Most of the farming that does take place is subsistence. Food for work programs exist still, and donors are just now getting into the scale-back-the-free-food-and-let-the-industry-develop concept. This means opportunity.

DR&A has a great deal of experience in Southern Sudan's agricultural sector. We've worked in every state and have years of local/government interfacing under out belts. If you have questions about agricultural activities there, be sure to email us at the address to the right or at david ( at )

South Sudan Banking: Kenyan Co-op Bank's Q1 profit up 29 percent, eyes South Sudan

As I've written in earlier posts, South Sudan's banking sector is an area of investment with real possibilities. Kenya's Co-Op Bank sees this and has shown its intent.

In simple terms, this is an enormous market that is still incredibly underserved. If your organization has an appetite for a pre-emerging market like South Sudan, get in touch with us to help formulate a plan. The time is now.

Click on the entry header for the story.

Friday, May 22, 2009

US Africa Investment

From a submitter, Fabiane Dal-Ri;

I'm reaching out to you because I thought you and the readers of South Sudan Business Blog would be fascinated by what my firm has recently uncovered about the attitudes toward corporate investment in Africa among leading U.S. corporations -- according to senior officers of 30 American Fortune 100 corporations we interviewed. Why has Africa not attracted more interest from the U.S. business community? We have collected all of the answers and case studies into a news release introducing a study that launched today commissioned by the US Chamber of Commerce:

We're very excited about the revelations in this paper and would love it if you could let your readers know about what we've uncovered.

We aim to please.

It's certainly worth a read. Check it out.

Southern Sudan Commission on Statistics

There's a few stories in the news lately about the Government of Southern Sudan disputing the 2007 and 2008 Sudanese national census effort.

Not to understate the argument, but the crux of the concerns involve a general under counting of the population of Southern Sudan. Any under counting would have longer term implications for resource distribution and representation in government and the Government of Southern Sudan (and frankly all of the regions and groups "not aligned with the center") are wise to voice their concerns and challenge the results. If the results of the census are based on sound research and sampling, then they are dependable. If not, then they need to be remedied quickly. Either way, it is an issue worth observing.

The Government of Southern Sudan has established an autonomous commission that compiles population data on Southern Sudan. The data includes livelihood profiles, and at-a-glance regional reports.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reuters Video Report: Sudan to hold elections in coming year

An interesting visual report on some background to Sudan's civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the coming elections. See the report here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sudan says economy to grow 4-6 percent in 2009

* Sudanese economy to grow 4-6 percent in 2009

* Animal resources exports to contribute to growth

* Inflation to fall to 8-9 percent in 2009

* U.S. sanctions shielded Sudan from global crisis

By Yara Bayoumy

KHARTOUM, May 11 (Reuters) - Sudan expects its economy to grow by up to 6 percent this year, helped by increasing revenues from the export of livestock and related products, the country's finance minister said.

Sudan, a modest oil producer, had recorded GDP growth of 8-9 percent last year, Finance and National Economy Minister Awad Ahmed al-Jaz told Reuters in an interview on Sunday.

The central bank recently revised down its growth forecast to 5 percent because of the global financial crisis and falling oil prices.

"We are estimating that we will achieve 6 percent growth, even though others are reporting negative and zero growth, we are comfortable with 4-6 percent growth and that is versus 8-9 percent in 2008," Jaz said in his office in Khartoum.

The whole story is here.

Sudan Telecommunications Report Q2 2009

An interesting snapshot from telecoms industry followers on Sudan.
Sudan Telecommunications Report Q2 2009 Sudan has a telecoms market with high growth potential. Mobile penetration was estimated at just over 27% at the end of 2008, leaving nearly 29mn potential subscribers in the country - a fairly attractive prospect for operators. However, in common with many high growth potential markets, demand is coming from the bottom of the market, and therefore ARPUs are low.
Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Businesses in Southern Sudan: ABM

We're always looking to write about successful enterprises in Southern Sudan.

ABM, Aggregate and Building Materials, is such a business.

South Sudan's newest and largest supplier of crushed stone and building aggregates, ABM is a great example of investors applying energy and capital to meet an obvious long-term demand. As a construction novice myself, aggregate is needed for any concrete-related construction. It is mixed with cement to make concrete (overly simplistic, I know, but bear with me folks).

Anyway, the point to highlighting ABM is due to a few readers contacting us about business ideas. To give a blanket answer to that question, the businesses that will flourish in South Sudan are development related, simple in concept, and scalable. Oh and properly managed.

Check out ABM's website here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A notable snapshot

Introducing White Bull Lager, Southern Sudan's first locally-produced beer

Another Juba first!

From their release:

Southern Sudan Beverages Proudly Introduces White Bull Lager!

JUBA -- Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd, (SSBL) is proud to introduce Southern Sudan’s first locally produced beer, White Bull Lager. White Bull Lager is a carefully crafted beer, specifically brewed to meet the tastes of the Southern Sudanese consumer. It is the culmination of several years’ planning, testing, delivery-process development, local partnership building, and most importantly, quality assurance second to none.

White Bull Lager is an easily recognized symbol for the people of Southern Sudan; it has an important status in the many cultures of this land and promotes the positive feelings of celebration, success and peace. It is a culturally treasured symbol that the team at SSBL respects and admires.

SSBL’s team spent years getting to know the Southern Sudan consumer, their tastes, their demands, and their expectations in a quality beer. Our team understands that the consumer wants a product they can call ‘Made in Southern Sudan’, but they also demand the high quality of a globally-recognized product. SSBL is proud to say we’ve more than met those criteria in our White Bull Lager.

Our products’ motto means more than just “Celebrating Peace and Prosperity.” It is a snapshot of the collective will of every Southern Sudanese we’ve met. An emerging and diverse community like Southern Sudan has had its challenges, but what’s important is that there is an intense set of common ambitions throughout the country: a desire for peace, prosperity, a need for celebration and most importantly a strong hope in our future. SSBL shares those hopes and dreams.

SSBL’s new beverage plant situated in Juba, and is a pioneer in developing an indigenous manufacturing capability in Southern Sudan. SSBL is a subsidiary of SABMiller, Plc. one of the leading international beverage businesses, who, to date, has invested in 35 operations across Africa.

“The introduction of White Bull Lager marks a proud day for both the people of Southern Sudan and Southern Sudan Beverages,” says Mr. Ian Alsworth-Elvey, Managing Director of Southern Sudan Beverage Ltd (subsidiary of SABMiller plc). “We’ve only just emerged from civil strife and already we’re showing the world that Southern Sudan can produce a product that can stand side-by-side with any in the world. It’s a remarkable achievement.”

This new facility offers the initial capacity to brew 180 000hl of clear beer and 60 000hl of carbonated soft drinks, annually. Brewing operations have been underway since February 2009 and production of soft drinks will commence shortly. The local Juba community has a land lease agreement with SABMiller that will ensure they receive royalties from the manufacturing development, the first of its kind in Southern Sudan.

The community surrounding the facility will receive a further enhancement to the quality of their lives through access to clean, safe water from the Nile, which is the main water source for manufacture by the business.

The approximate US$37m investment has considerably more than an economic impact as it will create employment for hundreds of Sudanese locals once manufacturing commences and has already employed a large number of skilled labour in the construction of the plant. Further investments are also planned to upweight capacity and develop the route to market assets and capability during the next year

We believe that through the strength of our brands, operational capability and investment for growth, we can ensure a sustainable and growing business that also benefits the communities we operate in.

DR&A is proud to be a part of this project's historic effort in Southern Sudan.

A hearty congratulations to the whole SSBL and SABMiller team on this historic and momentous occasion.

South Sudan's development has knock on effects for whole regions' economy

A newish link to a East African Business Week story on how the emergence of Southern Sudan's economy is impacting the whole region's financial situation.

Already the effects of opening up to South Sudan are paying off dividends for Kenyans and Ugandan farmers.

Prices of animals and produce have doubled and quadrupled. This is good for business. There is pretty much to tap from Sudan, including jobs, construction and tourism. The reverse is also true. In the coming years, road and rail will form a significant part of life. Rail on.

South Sudan has leap-frogged many of Uganda's traditional trading partners and become the third after Kenya and the EU.

Read the full story here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New GOSS Ministry of Legal Affairs and Consitutional Development Website

Web researchers are often at a loss for laws in effect in Southern Sudan posted online. The Government of Southern Sudan's Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development are seeking to remedy this.

Their new website is up, and it has downloadable, updated laws. To find the laws in place now, look to the right of the webpage under quicklinks. Click on the 'downloads' hotlink for a complete list.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sudan on course to hold elections

There's a lot of opinions out there about whether or not to hold elections in Sudan. Is itOK to hold elections while a war rages in Darfur? What about freedom of the press? Logistical issues of Southern Sudan? Whatever the opinion is, the fact that this country is a big step closer to beginning their democratic process. I think that is something that goes into the 'positive' column.

For what it is worth, I think any elections, properly run or not, is a step this country needs to take. In the north, if the law is enforced (the election law), the security apparatus does not interfere, and there is some breathing space for the press, and an exchange of ideas happens, Khartoum is going to be a different place.

As for elections in the South, it is a must-do. Since the end of the civil war in early 2005 the social compact between government and citizen has changed radically. The citizens are due their chance to renew the leadership's mandate, or choose new leaders. On that point, it makes me happy to hear that many within the leadership feel this way too.

Article is here. Related article here.

Update: here is the GONU schedule.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

South Sudan fetes historic beer

Southern Sudanese prepare for launch of production at south’s first commercial brewery since civil war.

More here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly endorses anti-corruption bill

The South Sudan legislative assembly has endorsed today the anti-corruption bill for the year 2009.

The speaker of the assembly James Wani Igga said the bill represents the second remarkable achievement by the assembly after the interim constitution.

He added that the bill will curb mounting corruption in southern Sudan.

The chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission Pauline Riak said in a press statement that the commission is to investigate and compile corruption cases and refer them to the prosecutor.

Answering a question from Miraya FM on whether the commission will look into earlier cases of alleged corruption in Southern Sudan before the bill was endorsed, Mrs. Pauline Riak ruled out any time limitations.

The report of the committee of the public account and legal affairs on the Anti-Corruption Commission bill was presented to the house by the chairperson of the Public Account Committee Dr Jimmy Wango.

The bill becomes a law when the President of the government of Southern Sudan signs it.


Here is some background on the Anti-Corruption Commission.

FEATURE-South Sudan brewery shows distance from Khartoum

A nice follow up on the Southern Sudan Beverages Limited brewery construction in Juba from Reuters' Skye Wheeler.

"It's a big step forward, a sign of development and shows confidence in the peace," the south's commerce ministry undersecretary John K. Panguir, told Reuters. "This is the one country, two systems in action."

More here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Business Monitor International report on Sudan

With so many Sudan 'expert analysts' floating around the web these these days, it's hard to throw a link and miss one. With Khartoum's savage treatment of Darfur and the subsequent ICC indictment of President Bashir, there's a limitless pool of opinions and prognostications to be found. Some free ( and worth every penny, like this), and some not-so-free.

A few products are available from 'professional analysts' on Sudan for a significant fee. One report I saw referenced in a recent article drew me to their website. Browsing through their product, I saw an executive summary that was, in my humble opinion, off the mark.

A few points:

The South is not engaged in a massive military buildup. It neither has the money, manpower, expertise, nor strategic plan to do so. When you see MiGs, Hinds, and other expensive military hardware gracing the tarmacs of Southern Sudan, this point is valid. Otherwise, if one is referring to the hijacked cargo destined for Kenya, but (mistakenly) rumored to be for Southern Sudan -- then think again. That rumor is simply not true.

Second: Both parties are cooperating with the Abyei process underway in the Hague. Both parties have publicly stated their satisfaction thus far. I have not been able to find evidence to the contrary.

Third: The summary completely misses (perhaps there is hope in the full report, but I wont spend $800 to find out) the economic implications of the ICC indictment of President Bashir. That gem has too many facets to completely and accurately describe. Right now, it is the 600-pound gorilla sitting in the room.

These are fundamental points I find hard to miss. Any serious and in-the-know analysis would know them.

Sudanic Magazine: Southern Sudan as an Investment Destination

Sudanic is a Sudanese-focused current events/politics and business magazine published every other month. It's got great production vales and has a good amount of fresh reporting, relevant commentary and an indigenous understanding of Sudanese culture. If in Southern Sudan, you can find the magazine at the larger book/magazine outlets. If you see it, grab a copy. You wont be disappointed.

Here's a recent article we've included in this month's Sudanic. Click on the images for a closer read. Enjoy.

Business Journal Africa article on Sudan

Looks like Business Journal Africa is off the web, otherwise I'd do a link to their article. That wont stop us from getting it to our dear readers, though. I've copied it to the post below.

A few small points of error in the article, and an unusual dancing around of the current foreign currency shortfalls, especially within the Government of Southern Sudan.

As some readers here may know, the central government in Khartoum has been withholding monthly oil dividends from the GOSS. Why? Because it is what they do. And, the low price of oil is severely cutting revenues (oil represents more than 80% of Khartoum's exports).

Never fear, however. GOSS is chasing down options and finding solutions in a responsible and thorough manner. More on this to come. The article leaves out a few points; namely that although the GOSS is having trouble finding cash right now, that does not mean that cash is lacking. It's there and those that supply it to the market (through banks and foreign currency exchangers) are really doing well -- if they can keep the foreign currency coming in.

Apart from this, we're starting to see an (anecdotal) loss of the Sudanese Pound to the Dollar. About 20-25% since the beginning of the year!

Now, here's the article. Click on the images to bring up a readable version.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The ICC: What do the Sudanese people think?

Given the tight controls of media and information in general in Khartoum, outside observers are forced to make their own conclusions about what the people think of their leadership and the ICC in particular.

In my conversations with both foreigners and Sudanese, these opinions vary dramatically. All of the outsiders' opinions, though of course not nearly as succinct or in contact with the realities as the Sudanese, have at least a kernel of truth to them.

There's an interesting Sudan Tribune article on the subject today that is absolutely worth a read. Though just a random "man-on-the-street" grab of opinions, it is quite telling. Read the article here.

My opinion, which I'll admit is simply one of many, is that the supporters of the regime are those whom rely on it for its largesse. With the pool of money shrinking, and the cost of support increasing with Sudan's inflation, there is a coming point when the regime will simply be unable to pay supporters to support it.

Here's some backgound observations on the economy in "the north": Since the late 80's and early 90's Sudan's independent upper and middle class have had their professions, assets and businesses either stripped, nationalized, radically devalued, or sidelined by government policies. The regime sought to stifle pockets of competition from political, economic, academic and professional circles and created an environment that made competitors dependent on party affiliation for jobs, economic opportunity or safety from military service that could be a death sentence. I've seen this first hand: businesses exhausted by lack of government 'permits' and competition by regime-affiliated companies, the middle class struggling to live on 1980's-level wages, and ever-dwindling avenues for private wealth development. It's evident that the productive classes of the society are being deliberately boxed-out and impoverished.

Jumping back to the ICC issue, I believe that the only life raft President Bashir can cling to now is nationalism. Nationalism, led by the party and its recipients, as a defense to this situation is going to have to be big, expensive, and kept at a fast jog -- in perpetuity. The regime uses rallies to demonstrate support. The bodies in the rallies are those of supporters from within the government and parastatal companies. If they are on the street dancing with the President, they aren't being productive. Can this task be borne by the regime? I don't believe so.

The fall back to this option with be the regime using the lash to keep its population in check. It does so to some degree now, but like the reliance on nationalism, that is usually to the massive detriment to the economy. Strikes, shunning by world markets, reliance on a single commodity for foreign currency inputs, economic sabotage and the typically poorly run parastatal organizations will cause the economic downturn to accelerate.

Lost government revenue, the high cost of a security/military apparatus fighting the population, and lost revenue to regime supporters, will eventually force regime leaders to make tough decisions. That will likely mean either putting President Bashir out to pasture and re-creating the political environment to allow economic breathing room, or simply sinking the whole ship of state.

Given the actions by the NCP in the past 20 years, I would not place a wager on which direction they will take.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Marked Difference in Governing

When we hear and read so many opinions on the future of Sudan/Southern Sudan, I find it remarkable that "analysts" will paint both northern and southern leaders with the same brush and miss the obvious differences.

More specifically, I recently read some remarkably poor analysis from Chatham House on Sudan and its future. While I will spare readers my negative review of this poorly reasoned report, one thought begs mention; the difference in leadership exhibited between the northern junta and the Government of Southern Sudan.

I'll sum it up in how each side deals with a similar situation; tribal conflict, community tensions and open warfare (open warfare in Sudan, dear readers, is simply community tensions that have been incubated).

First, the regime in Khartoum has a boilerplate response: send in the troops, bomb civilians and generally break things and hurt people. Oh, and resist outsiders trying to help protect innocents when the "solution" gets too savage.

Conversely, the Government of Southern Sudan, though certainly not perfect, takes a different approach to the same problem: send in the President to mediate, encourage resolution and bring the facts to the people.

I'd have to say, this is a stark contrast that is often overlooked by the professional "analysts."

Follow up:

Certainly worthy of another post, but the Government of Southern Sudan has completed a (long-overdue, perhaps) security policy. A worthy and telling quote that is nub of the document's purpose, and the governments' security and governing mission;

“The Government of Southern Sudan exists for the ultimate purpose of ensuring the security and sovereignty of the people of Southern Sudan …Though we have limited resources, we will seek to minimize risk while focusing our efforts on those activities that are most vital to securing our interests,”

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sudan peace partners submit new set of filings on Abyei

Readers may note that we've written about the importance of the Abyei boundary issue in north-south political terms. Simplified, the issue is one of the significant hurdles to minimizing tension (flowing from the ambiguity over a contested border) and setting up the dialogue/process/framework for whatever may happen in the 2011 referendum on separation. This is the current focus point for north-south tension, and neither side wants to concede political points to the other -- the risk of alienating their constituencies in the area is too great, and the oil reserves under the area are too valuable.

The CPA did spell out a process for determining the common border, but the northern partner rejected the outcome of the commission mandated with researching the subject and presenting their findings. The parties agreed to binding arbitration in the Hague and the process is moving forward. Here's the relevant data:

The SPLM/A and Government of Sudan submitted a second round of arguments to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, which is tasked with ruling on the dispute over the Abyei Boundaries Commission.

Abyei is an oil-rich area also used by Misseriya and Dinka pastoralists to graze cattle.

The two signatories of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Government of Sudan (GoS) and the SPLM, agreed in June 2008, in a roadmap to resolve Abyei disagreement, to refer their dispute to an arbitration tribunal. They formally referred their case to the PCA on July 12, 2008.

. . .

The opposing legal teams will now review each other’s arguments and respond with a third written submission to the tribunal on February 28, after which no additional written submissions will be provided unless requested by the arbiters. Oral hearings are then scheduled for April 18-23 after which the tribunal must issue its final decision within 90 days — no later than the end of July of this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sudan’s Growth to Fall After Oil Peak

All things considered, looks like a depressing lede, but the last sentence is telling: a decline in pan-Sudanese growth from 12.7 to 7.9 percent. A growth rate of almost 8 percent is nothing to sneeze at.

Sudan’s oil production will peak next year before it starts to consistently fall, according to a new forecast.

Oil and gas liquids production will increase by one third (30.3 percent), with volumes peaking at 700,000b/d in 2010, according to a Business Monitor International forecast.
But the oil and gas volumes will then steadily fall to 596,000b/d by the end of the 2018, according to Business Monitor.

And growth is forecast to fall from 12.7 percent in 2008 to 7.9 percent this year.

Sudan Election Law

Having participated in more than a few elections in my time, the importance of a country's or state's election law cannot be understated. It establishes, for all intents and purposes, the playing field, referrees, grandstands and rules for the election contest.

Historically, Sudan has had some seemingly functionable and interesting election laws. Unfortunately, few would argue that the elections were fully fair or uncompromised by the regime du jour.

In accordance with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Government of National Unity Constitution, Sudan (that's north and south folks) has updated its election laws.

I have some reservations about the law from the start, mainly due to the constitution of the election commission (all nomintated by President Bashir and approved by Vice President Kiir). This sets up a formula where Bashir can nominate people he knows Kiir will not accept, thereby delaying the stand up of the commission and delay of the elections.

There's more to it, and we'll post an update here shortly. We also expect the Government of Southern Sudan to pass its own election laws. More on that soon, too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Central Equatoria State Signs a Development MoU with Danish Company

Here's a link to the story on Gurtong

The company's website appears to be under construction.

The story wasn't exactly clear who would be funding the 200 million euro development projects, or if they would be privately funded for-profit efforts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Land bill passes in South Sudan parliament

This development represents a major positive mark in the progress of South Sudan's legal framework. It's a super development on a difficult issue mentioned below.
My hat is off to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly for their work! Congratulations!
Here's the full story.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FT article: Jarch Managment to develop 400,000 ha in Warrap State?

I hate to judge. I hate to cast disapproval on individuals in business or trying to get in business in Southern Sudan.

I will make an exception in this case, however.

Worst-case-scenario-advocate Mr. Philippe Heilberg claims to have agricultural rights to 400,000 hectares of land via some deal.

Judging merely by the company a man keeps (I'm talking about their board), I am betting Mr. Heilburg will do as well in this enterprise as well as he did in his last one. My hope is that anyone doing their due diligence on this organization and its experiences in Southern Sudan will look carefully all over.

Anyone familiar with land-centered enterprises in South Sudan can see more than a few holes in his companies' claim to this land.

Follow up: FT has a pretty good editorial take what this represents here.

And now the other shoe drops.

Sudan partners mark the 4th anniversary of peace in Malakal

It is hard to believe that we've come 4 years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

A hearty congratulations to all of my Sudanese friends.

Here's the lede from Sudan Tribunes' report:

January 9, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan government partners marked today the fourth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in the capital of Upper Nile State, Malakal, where they called for reconciliation and preservation of 2005 peace.