Sudan’s Roads

Taylor W. Anderson

Mar. 9, 2011

South Sudan’s Roads

HED: Lack of roads pose problem to Africa’s newest country

If you think Montana’s roads are a problem, try driving from Missoula to Lolo in an hour and a half.

That’s the reality for some workers in South Sudan, where an estimated nine miles of paved roads exist in Africa’s newest country.

A January referendum that will likely split Africa’s largest country in two this July doesn’t have the roads to support the economic necessities of a newfound country.

Emily Sloane is a University of Montana graduate working in Africa. She spent time in South Sudan (SSD) during the last year working on humanitarian efforts throughout the south before moving to Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The lack of roads will likely create turmoil for the SSD to establish itself as a new country with great existing potential, she said, which may hurt the new country’s efforts to thrive.

“Roads will certainly be an issue in the new country,” Sloane said, “Since all the existing infrastructure leads north.”

The north reportedly has over 10,500 miles of paved roads, according to an article by the Economoist.

The road issue only reiterates the inequality that has been created by years of oppression by the government of Omar al-Bashir in the north ruled over the people of the south.

SSD will also have issues creating an economy that allows the new country to prosper.

Currently, 98 percent of the SSD government funding comes from oil production, as opposed to nearly 50 percent in the north, according to the World Bank’s country profile statistics.

With current funding established under al-Bashir rule, SSD may have trouble generating wealth from oil production. Current pipelines lead to the north, while most of the oil exists in the resource-rich south, creating production issues.

Sudan currently boasts the 20th most oil reserves in the world.

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