South Sudan economy at risk of collapse
Posted Friday, July 6 2012 at 19:24
- Juba’s trade is between a rock and a hard place as result of oil export ban begins to rear its ugly head
South Sudan’s decision to halt oil production in a bitter row with Khartoum has left the fledgling nation’s economy at risk of collapse, as it prepares to mark its first year of independence.
The landlocked country, which relies on the infrastructure of the North to export its oil, decided to stop pumping crude barely six months after becoming a State despite oil being almost its only source of revenue.
Juba, still reeling from over half a century of civil war, was angered to see Khartoum siphoning off its crude after a row over pipeline fees.
Yet as early as March, confidential World Bank memos were painting a bleak picture of the future of South Sudan’s economy, predicting it would collapse in the short- or medium-term unless oil production resumes.
However, the ex-rebel army commanders-turned-government remain defiant. “We’re not going to collapse, we’re going to survive until the problem of oil is resolved,” said Atem Yaak Atem, a government spokesman, claiming that money is still coming in, but without saying where from.
However, talks with the rump state of Sudan over oil pipeline export fees — that would allow production to resume — have made little progress since the rivals fought bitter border battles in March and April.
Donors estimate inflation to be 80 per cent year-on-year in May, but in the absence of reliable and public statistics, it is difficult to get an accurate idea of the state of the economy, said Samson Wassara, Dean of Social and Economic Sciences at the University of Juba. (AFP)