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.