Clinton warns S.Sudan of "resource curse" with oil wealth
Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:26pm GMT
* Clinton urges gov't to implement transparency pledges
* South Sudan's Kiir seeks int'l help with Khartoum conflict
* U.S. hopes to offer AGOA trade benefits
By Andrew Quinn
WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged
newly independent South Sudan on Tuesday to be prudent with its oil wealth,
warning mismanagement and the "resource curse" could see money siphoned off
by unscrupulous elites and foreign powers.
Clinton, speaking at a development conference for South Sudan in Washington,
welcomed the new government's pledge to improve transparency and
accountability, particularly in the oil sector that appears poised for major
"The proof is in the pudding. What matters most is whether the government
follows through on it," Clinton told the audience, which included South
Sudan President Salva Kiir.
"We know that it will either help your country finance its own path out of
poverty or you will fall prey to the natural resource curse which will
enrich a small elite, outside interests, corporations and countries and
leave your people hardly better off than when you started."
Kiir said South Sudan was determined to become "an island of stability" in
Africa after emerging to claim independence in July, culminating a 2005
peace deal that ended decades of civil war with Sudan.
"We have come from 50 years of conflict, marginalization and war. Our
history has created countless roadblocks and challenges that we must
overcome," Kiir told the conference.
"We can have well-written and thought-out dreams, but if we do not
practically improve our governance system, this dream is as good as not
being there," he said.
South Sudan accounts for around 75 percent of the formerly united country's
500,000 barrels per day of oil output. Oil revenues could make it one of the
wealthiest countries in the region - at least on paper.
But South Sudan and Sudan still face disputes over sharing oil revenues and
ending fighting in a volatile border region, keeping tensions high between
the two neighbors whose long civil war killed an estimated 2 million people.
"THE LOGIC OF FORCE"
Kiir urged the international community to take a tougher line with Khartoum,
which he accused of violating his country's air space and bombing villages
and refugee camps.
"It is our strong desire that the international community seeks means and
ways of making appropriate interventions so that potential flashpoints for
renewed fighting between the Republic of Sudan and us are extinguished," he
He repeated South Sudan's demand that the fate of the disputed oil-producing
border region of Abyei must be decided through a referendum "and not through
the logic of force."
U.S. officials say the Washington conference will introduce South Sudan both
to aid organizations and to private companies, seeking to jump start the
economy and open up new opportunities, particularly in the oil and
The country, roughly the size of France, remains one of the last developed
in the world, and officials tick off a huge list of needs ranging from
schools, hospitals and roads to telecommunication infrastructure and basic
The United States last week eased sanctions on South Sudan to allow
investments in the oil sector, although it has maintained standing bans on
most economic interaction with Khartoum..
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the United States hoped soon to
qualify South Sudan for trade benefits including the African Growth and
Opportunity Act, which allows most goods produced in select African
countries to enter the United States duty-free.
2.7 million S.Sudanese to need food aid in 2012-U.N.
Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:25pm GMT
JUBA Dec 15 (Reuters) - Around 2.7 million people in South Sudan will
require food aid from next year with crop failures and violence hitting
Africa's newest nation hard, the United Nations said on Thursday.
South Sudan won its independence from Sudan in July but the new nation has
been struggling to build up state institutions, end tribal and rebel
violence and overcome an economic crisis.
Landlocked South Sudan imports much of its food needs from Sudan but border
trade has been disrupted by armed clashes.
More than 80,000 people have fled to South Sudan from northern border states
where Khartoum's army has been fighting insurgents for months.
Erratic rains have caused food prices to spiral upwards in recent months and
various armed conflicts have worsened the crisis, the U.N. World Food
Programme (WFP) said in a statement.
"A gathering storm of hunger is approaching South Sudan, caused by crop
failure and market disruption," WFP country director Chris Nikoi said in a
Resources are being stretched further by people displaced by violence and an
influx of 350,000 South Sudanese returning home following independence in
July, according to the WFP.
WFP and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate that the young
nation will have a shortfall of 400,000 metric tons of food in 2012.
Inflation climbed to 78.8 percent in November in the country of 8.3 million
"Food prices have already doubled or tripled in some areas, leaving hundreds
of thousands of children vulnerable to malnutrition at a key developmental
stage of their young lives," Nikoi said.
Relations between Juba and Khartoum have soured in recent weeks as talks
over post-independence issues such as oil, debt, arrears, disputed areas and
transitional financial assistance have broken down.
Sudan and South Sudan regularly trade accusations -- and denials -- of
supporting insurgencies in each other's country, although direct combat
between the two armies broke out in a border area claimed by both sides.
Conflict, growing insecurity -- including the laying of landmines by rebel
groups -- and poor road infrastructure are hindering access for humanitarian
operations, WFP added. (Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Ulf
Laessing and Mark Heinrich)
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
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Received on Thu Dec 15 2011 - 17:46:32 EST