South Sudan will become a republic on July 9th, 2011. This momentous occasion is a moment that should be celebrated by all Africans, and especially those from the horn of Africa, because a peaceful and hopefully prosperous south Sudan offers a lot of opportunities for them.
however, there is a lot of apprehension regarding the future of South Sudan, due to the many challenges it faces as it becomes a republic, including low education standards, poor infrastructure, unemployment and poverty, tribal dissent from some of the lesser tribes, murmurings of high level corruption in the government, and arrogance, bad relations and clashes with North Sudan.
For South Sudan to safely navigate these problems the assistance of South Sudan's neighbours to the south and east will be crucial-Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda must be with South Sudan every step of the way. I will focus on what Kenya can do to assist South Sudan:
- Offer financial support to South Sudan. Kenya's infamous 1 million aid grant to Japan should be replicated here. most of south Sudan's industry need a lot of investment, and Kenya's generosity should come in handy to help South Sudan build schools, dispensaries, pay teachers and train the south Sudanese professionals
- Fast track inclusion of South Sudan to the East African Community fold. This is the biggest way that Kenya can assist this new country. the free movement of finances, people and goods across the borders will help create employment and exploit opportunities in both countries and hasten the development of South Sudan
- Construct transport infrastructure especially pipelines to exploit oil from south Sudan. South Sudan depends too much on the north for infrastructure such as pipelines to transport oil to the ports. Kenya and more likely, Uganda, should help construct these pipelines so as to ensure the relations between north and south are not so lopsided in the North's favor.
- Advise the south to avoid tribalism. There have been murmurings in the south that the 'big tribes' are monopolizing the national cake and positions in government. Kenya has had major problems with ethnicity, and it the South Sudanese should be advised to promote devolution of government, appointment of technocrats on merit, regional balancing and promoting national identity so as to reduce instance of tribal conflicts
- Kenya should continue being a mediator between north and south, keeping in mind that Bashir is increasingly isolated internationally, much of the oil that Khartoum used to exploit lies in the south and border demarcation in parts like Abyei is not yet complete
- Fighting corruption. Kenya has fought, and many will say, lost the war on corruption and South Sudan can learn on how to form anti corruption commissions, empowering the judiciary to try the perpetrators of corruption and institute checks and balances on the executive so that corruption can be fought within and outside government
- Kenya should also promote closer military and political ties to strengthen South Sudan's defense forces, institutions such as judiciary and parliament, as well as the executive. This is necessary so that it can fight the enemies of peace and prosperity from the north that are located in and out of North Sudan Kenya should also invest in South Sudan's banking sector, infrastructure, telecommunications network and other industry so that to ensure economic development that can help reduce poverty, unemployment and possible civil strife in South Sudan
In conclusion, Kenya has a lot to do to ensure south Sudan’s future is bright and hopeful…teaching them to avoid our mistakes, and using our economic and human infrastructure to guide them step by step.