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Economic Forum on South Sudan to be Hosted by U.S.
In two weeks, the United States will host an Economic Partners Forum for South Sudan in Washington, D.C. The U.S., along with representatives from the U.K., Norway, and the European Union will gather to discuss economic issues and possible solutions for South Sudan.

Important organizations, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund will also be in attendance and will collaborate with the other governments present in finding solutions for South Sudan’s economic issues. Challenges that plague the new nation include the need to diversify the country’s economy to promote “sustainable long-term growth.” The oil shutdown in the country has also worsened the economic climate within the last year.

The government partners and financial organizations in attendance at the Economic Forum will work with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to implement any recommendations that are made and will “offer support for sound government policy-making.”

Christina Kindlon

Source: USAID

refugee-crises-camp-zaire
Most refugee crises continue long after public interest and media attention have dissipated. Many others never receive international attention in the first place. However, many displaced people remain in temporary camps for much longer than anticipated. Without international awareness or support, aid organizations and the UN’s Refugee Agency struggle to meet the basic needs of refugees, forced migrants, and internally displaced people (IDPs).

The United Nations identified some of the most neglected refugee crises around the world in 2012:

1. Sudanese refugees in Chad: Ongoing conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region has displaced almost 2 million Sudanese. Over 250,000 of these refugees fled to Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries. Lack of infrastructure and resources in Chad have made it extremely difficult for residents to support themselves. Many rely exclusively on humanitarian aid for survival.

2. Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan: The Eritrean refugee presence in eastern Sudan continues to grow each year. Due to political instability and military conscription, so far over 60,000 Eritreans have migrated to some of the poorest parts of Sudan. Human traffickers and smugglers target the refugees, who are unable to legally possess land or property in Sudan.

3. Sudanese refugees in South Sudan: The conflict between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has been receiving increased international attention. But in 2012, aid organizations were urgently requesting an additional $20 million to meet the needs of the 170,000 refugees flooding into South Sudan. Lack of infrastructure makes aid delivery difficult and expensive.

4. IDPs in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Over 300,000 people were displaced from their homes in DRC in 2012 as a result of military violence. The majority remains within the Congo, while others have fled to Uganda and Rwanda. Insufficient funding and attacks on aid workers have hampered humanitarian efforts. Prior to the 2012 displacement, DRC was already home to 1.7 million internally displaced people.

5. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Muslims from western Myanmar, mainly from the state of Rohingya, have faced systemic discrimination and widespread abuse for the last fifty years. Thousands have fled to Bangladesh, where the government has prohibited international agencies from providing aid to undocumented refugees: of an estimated 200,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, only 30,000 are documented.

Many more displacement and refugee crises across the globe continue to take place under the radar of mainstream media. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has much more information and analysis on forced and unforced migration, displacement, and related human rights concerns.

– Kat Henrichs

Source: IRIN News
Photo: Wikipedia

Shanta_opt

Shanta Devarajan, a leading World Bank economist, said that while African nations are spending more on education and other community-related industries, the mismanagement of these funds is a current problem.

Devarajan’s advice? Allow the people of impoverished communities to make their own decisions regarding the spending of money. Devarajan cited that one of the benefits of putting aid money in the hands of the people would be added accountability for civil servants. He also asserts that making civil servants more accountable would decrease the misallocation of funds and improve the quality of services provided by civil servants.

Cirino Heteng, South Sudan’s Minister for Youth and Sports, conceded that including the poor in the decision-making process would help, but defended the current policy by saying that more supervision was needed. Heteng accused the current minister of education of being unaware of what the hierarchy beneath him is doing because he rarely visits the schools.

One way or the other, both sides promote the idea that the community be more involved in the allocation of funds.

South Sudan is a new official country as it seceded from Sudan in July of 2011. Problems such as the allocation of aid and hierarchical structure may therefore just be symptoms of a newly established government.

– Pete Grapentien

Source Voice of America

National Reconciliation in South SudanOver the past several decades, civil war has left an indelible mark on the country of South Sudan. In a provocative bid to move forward, South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar met with various civil society organizations to discuss a campaign for national reconciliation. Machar made headlines in 2011 with his public apology for his involvement in the Bor Massacre in 1991.

Set to launch in April, Vice President Machar’s campaign titled “A Journey of Healing for National Reconciliation” is modeled after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The campaign will initiate a dialog that can help the country’s factions move past previous atrocities and towards a future of mutual peace and understanding.

Machar is not without his critics though as several civil society organizations questioned both his motives and the timing for the push for national reconciliation in South Sudan. Foremost among those criticisms is Machar’s future ambition of seeking the candidacy for President. These criticisms notwithstanding, South Sudan has allocated funding for the training and deployment of individuals assigned the difficult task of mobilizing and engaging specific communities that will be required for a successful national reconciliation.

As challenging a goal that national reconciliation in South Sudan will be, it is far outweighed by the potential benefits of moving past the long-held grudges of the civil war. Regarding the civil war, Machar remarked that “The war created barriers among our people… The war has created trauma to all of us.”

Brian Turner

Source: Voice of America