There is Hope for Sudan
There has been a lot of progress in the last two weeks concerning North and South Sudan. The buffer zone between the two countries has been a heavily militarized zone. Both countries agreed to remove their troops immediately and without conditions. Hopefully tensions will calm down, as armed resistance across borders will begin to disintegrate. To ensure both sides comply Ethiopian troops have been sent to monitor the border. With the United Nations acting as a watchdog hopefully these two countries can focus their resources on their people, reconciliation and the future.
Another leap for Sudan this week involved both sides of Sudan signing an oil agreement, which will begin oil production for the two countries after being shut down since 2011. The country has seen a 46% increase in inflation as well as increased financial struggles as 50% of revenue from oil supports the countries. The two countries depend heavily on each other as one of them holds the oil reserves and the other holds the infrastructure to export the good. The two primary places that the expected 1.7 billion dollars will benefit are wage increases and deficit payments.
This agreement not only represents more hope for financial stability but also political. Although this may seem like a light at the end of the tunnel for this oil production feud. We need to wait and see this treaty in action. As the Northern rebels are still occupying the South’s territories. It seems unlikely that the South will risk giving up their oil to the North as the oil’s path runs through many unfriendly territories. Many rebel groups may find means of off routing the oil to the North to prevent profit and reconciliation.
I don’t have much hope for Sudan even though these steps seem to be a move forward. There are so many more actors that go beyond each government’s control. Like so many countries in this region there is no easy solution to disputes in ownership of rich resources. The best way to handle this situation is to divvy up the profits of the oil 50/50 as both sides rely on the other to make a profit. It is unfortunate that a simple signing or discussion of an issue cannot be the end of violence and distrust. Sudan faces a problem that I don’t believe can be solved with out time, patience, citizen involvement, countless interventions from outside peacemakers and hope. When generation after generation are taught to hate and distrust the other it is nearly impossible to have this frame of mind die out any other way then with a slow disintegration of stereotypes and hate through upcoming generations.
Check out this video for more background information on oil in Sudan.