12-23-11: Independence for Southern Sudan
This conversation originally aired February 11, 2011.
In 2005, a peace agreement ended two decades of civil war between northern and southern Sudan. The U.S. State Department estimates that 2 million people in the South died as a result of conflict between 1983 and 2005.
In January, southern Sudanese in Sudan and across the world voted in an independence referendum. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir said he’d accept the outcome. International observers certified the vote, and results were announced earlier this week: 98.83 percent voted to secede.
About 90 percent of southern Sudanese live on less than a dollar a day. Many hope that independence will stabilize the region, attract investment, and improve residents’ lives. Southern Sudanese president Salva Kiir said the vote was “not the end of the journey but rather the beginning of a new one.”
Emmanuel Hakim voted in the referendum. He lives in Bel Air and leads a Sudanese congregation at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Towson. He tells Sheilah what it was like to be part of this historic moment.
Emmanuel sent us an e-mail in mid-December with an update. Here it is:
I was in Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya in May and the excitement of the South Sudanese internationally had been great. At least after long time we are able to have our freedom and take care of our own problems; despite the challenges South Sudanese people are going through as a nation with people who just came out of freedom or liberation movement, the country need a lot of support to stand:
First of all in order for any place to develop construction has to take place; roads need to be developed to provide means of delivering services. Children need education for better life, hospitals need better training and equipment to better services so all these things are very much need right now.
There was a cleaning up going on, landmine removal, and establishment of policies to run the country. I was able to meet some of the government officials just to inquire how they plan on improving the country stability, and the response was clear that it is going to take international collective efforts to restore the country.
I traveled there to see how I can register business in South Sudan but I can tell it was challenging, there was a lot of potential for business but requires proper set up, network system will have to be developed.
The people were very welcoming for any developmental effort to the country, right now am looking for investors who are willing to put hands together and be a part of building the most new baby bone country in the world. I want to say am thankful to be in meeting at Prince Gorges county at initiative to help run business in South Sudan (Stanley H Hoyer congressman initiative),it my believe that such efforts will bring good development to the country.
There are so many things that are going on in the country that cannot be expressed in any better way.
If anyone is interested we can meet and talk more.