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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Welcome to the Republic of South Sudan - a new Nation is born today

For those people of Juba and areas surrounding it, 9th July would remain etched in their memory.   Juba is the Capital of the newest Country of the World – the Republic of South Sudan. Located on the White Nile river, it is also the capital of Central Equatoria, the smallest of the ten states of South Sudan.

The birth of the newest of the Nations arose out of a referendum  held from 9–15 January 2011 to determine if South Sudan should declare its independence from Sudan. The results released on 30 January 2011 were that 98.83% of the population had voted for independence.  Those living in the north and expatriates living overseas also voted.  This led to a formal independence on 9 July.  Just like any other countries, the infant Republic would soon face the reality of many disputes and economic problems but the fresh air of freedom should do them a lot of good.    South Sudan became the 193rd country recognised by the UN and the 54th UN member state in Africa.

According to the United Nations Charter, Chapter II, Article 4:[3]  -  Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members.  A sovereign state is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states.
 satellite map from bbc

The Republic of South Sudan is a country in East Africa. Its capital city is Juba. The landlocked country is bordered by Ethiopia to the east, Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Central African Republic to the west and Sudan to the north. South Sudan includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd formed by the White Nile, locally called the Bahr al Jebel.  The country was initially part of the British and Egyptian condominium of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and became part of the Republic of Sudan when independence was achieved in 1956.
South Sudan is composed of more than 200 ethnic groups and is, along with the adjacent Nuba Hills, one of the most linguistically diverse regions of Africa. However, many of the languages are quite small, with only a few thousand speakers.  The official language is English. Colloquial Arabic is spoken widely, though Juba Arabic, a pidgin, is spoken around the capital. The most populous language by native speakers is Dinka, a dialect continuum spoken by 2–3 million people

A century back, many countries were colonial settlements and their geographies had been redrawn by the powers that be.  The cultural, geographic, social and economic realities are bound to show up and perhaps that explains the fight for separate free land here and many places elsewhere.  South Sudan is full of jungles and swamps, while the north is mostly desert.  Religion is a great divider - most northerners are Arabic-speaking Muslims, while the south is made up of numerous different ethnic groups who are mostly Christian or follow traditional religions.  As has happened in some countries, the Govt was based in the North and Southerners felt discriminated against.  The attempts to impose religious law also brought about the divide. 

Though the newest country has come into being, there would be lots of unfinished works to do in the quest of their becoming economically independent power.  New borders have to drawn up, the erstwhile Nation’s debt / wealth will have to be divided, the new currency needs to come into play, the borders will have to be protected, the movement will have to be checked and regulated and there could be more.    There could also be issues of passports, stamps, anthem, game and teams and internet domain name !

The capital Juba is a  river port and the southern terminus of traffic along the Nile, properly called the Bahr al Jabal section of the White Nile. Before the civil war, Juba was also a transportation hub, with highways connecting it to Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Whether it can continue to be a transportation hub with its dependence on other countries will have to be seen with the passage of time. 

In what could be seen as a peace move, Sudan was the first state to officially recognize its new neighbor.   Expectedly, people were in the streets, cheering, waving South Sudan flags, banging drums, chanting the name of  their President  and  celebrating their independence.   Though a small Nation with a population of less than 10 million the Country will have to grapple with high maternal mortality rate and very high illiteracy. 

A full member Nation of the UN gets allocated country code through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  A two-letter code identifies the country's internet domain suffix, while the three-letter codes appear on passports and define the country's currency in international markets.   India has .in,  Sudan has .sd,  USSR took .su and South Sudan would like .ss -  there are some reports that ‘SS” has an association in Europe with Nazis and hence may not be approved.  The internet domain suffix may not be biggest of the problems for a nascent Nation. 

Their Currency is Sudanese pound -  the currency of Sudan and South Sudan. Both Arabic and English names for the denominations appear on the country's banknotes and coins.

Salva Kiir Mayardit (born 1951) is the first President of the independent Republic of South Sudan.

Welcome to the Republic of South Sudan, the new entrant to the World of Nations, today – 9th July 2011.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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