June 30, 2010

Border crossing freedom

An agreement signed June 29 allows people to travel freely between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. This has good benefits for pastoralists, as they may travel to find pastures for their animals, or take them to markets.

Augustine Lotodo, a member of parliament in the East African Legislative Assembly, told IRIN on 30 June.: "This Security in Mobility initiative is one of the best things to happen to pastoralists in a long time. During colonial times, pastoralism was respected and they were allowed to move around freely but after independence, border restrictions hampered their way of life."


Basketball player Manute Bol dies

Sudanese tall man Manute Bol died on June 19, 2010.
He was 7'7" tall and had played in the US based basketball league, the NBA, for the Washington Bullets. A Dinka man, his heart was for Sudan, where he helped build hospitals. He had been there to help with the elections in April, 2010. Manute contracted health problems, and delayed some of his health needs, which later lead to his death in Virginia, USA.

Read an article that describes his career, and  character.

Another article describes his motivation for helping in Sudan.

June 15, 2010

Economy- Is oil creating a spree?

A World Bank report challenges Sudan's spending over the past decade. Has the country gone on a spending spree that is wise?

Sudan must use its oil production, which has helped to quintuple the size of its economy in the past decade, to create more balanced and sustainable growth, the World Bank said.

With an independence referendum due in January in Southern Sudan, the source of most of the country’s oil, the government in Khartoum needs to invest in agriculture and other non-oil industries, and reduce the dominant role of the state, the bank said yesterday.

“While oil-led growth over the past 10 years has greatly improved the Sudanese economy, its sustainability is under threat,” the bank said in a statement announcing its latest Country Economic
Memorandum on Sudan.

Sudan’s rapid economic development has also created tensions that threaten to spark instability, the bank said. War has raged in the western region of Darfur for the past seven years after rebels took up arms, accusing the Khartoum government of neglecting the region.

“The unbalanced development of the country, with a large disparity between the center and periphery, remains a potential source for conflict and political instability,” the bank said.

President Umar Al Bashir’s government needs to allow a greater role for private companies and start “developing the agriculture sector as the next big alternative source of growth to the oil sector in the medium-term,” it said.

Economic Expansion
Sudan’s gross domestic product expanded to $53 billion in 2008 from $10 billion in 1999, the year oil exports started, the bank said. Annual per capita income increased to $532 in 2008 from $334 in 1999, it said.

“Oil wealth has enabled Sudan to roll-out a massive expansion of its physical and social infrastructure including a doubling of the road network and electricity generation,” the bank said.
About 70 percent of Sudan’s crude is pumped in the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan, central bank Governor Sabir Hassan said in a June 9 lecture in Khartoum.

Companies including China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Natural Gas Corp. pump the bulk of daily output of about 490,000 barrels. Sudan is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil producer, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

“If Southern Sudan secedes, it could affect the economy negatively unless the government takes measures to counter it,” Hassan said.


Keep peace: Church in Sudan

Rumbek — The Church has challenged the government to ensure that peace is maintained among Sudanese people.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a three-day regional peace conference for the people of Western Equatorial and Greater Bahr al Ghazal regions and organized by the Episcopal Church of Sudan, delegates said that they were deeply grieved that violent conflicts among the southern peoples continue to tear apart our communities and threaten our future.

"We have gathered together in Rumbek, the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the government, the chiefs, and the people of Western Equatoria and Greater Bahr al Ghazal, because of our deep desire to find a way to move forward in peace. Let us unite ourselves, and move forward hand in hand," the conference delegates further pointed out. And they observed that the Churches in Sudan have been vital to the peace process, both during and following the war. "We are called by Christ to be peacemakers, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Children of God," (Matthew 5:9)."

"The Church does not belong to one tribe or one clan, the Church is universal, and will continue in its role as a light to the people, pointing the way to peace," added the Church communiqué.
During the three-day regional conference delegates were treated to lectures on peace and conflict resolution and received reports from the governors, archbishop and bishops.


June 2, 2010

Donors conference coming in December

Donors' Conference for East to Implement Projects at Cost of Three Billion Dollars

Khartoum — The first technical meeting for the Donors Conference for Rehabilitation and Development of Eastern Sudan Monday endorsed implementation of development and Investment projects that would be presented for the Donors Conference in Kuwait in next November, at the cost of three billion US dollars.

The rapporeur of the preparatory committee, Engineer Abu-Obaida Mohamed Duj, said in a press conference he held at Fateh Tower Hotel Monday that the Donors Conference aims to attracting international assistance for the people of east Sudan.

Duj said that the meeting was attended by representatives of the government of Sudan and delegations from Kuwait Economic Development Fund, Arab Socio-Economic Development Fund, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) He said that the conference reviewed the projects put forward by the committee and affirmed convocation of the conference on 31 November 2010 in Kuwait with the participation of the government with East Sudan Development Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of International cooperation.

Representative of the UNDP affirmed its commitment to provide all the requirements for the conference, which will provide a a good opportunity to exchange ideas and to develop east Sudan which needs rehabilitation of infrastructure. MF/MO Donors' Conference for East Sudan to Implement Projects at Cost of Three Billion Dollars.