The civil war that began in July 2016 between the forces led by the so-called Vice-President of the Government, Mr. Riek Machar , and the forces of the President of the then Government, Mr. Salva Kiir stopped for talks to be held between the two sides in the capital of South Sudan, Juba.
Given the start of the talks and the ceasefire of fire, humanitarian aid reaches most parts of the country, now drastically reducing the incidence of starvation and hunger in most of the population. The fact that during the civil war the humanitarian Aid did not reach the population was the main cause that more than two million people became refugees leaving the country.
By Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis
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But despite the opening of talks between the two sides and the truce in most of the country, the civil war continues in the region of Equatoria, in the southern part of the country.
The aim of the ceasefire of fire and the opening of the talks is to initially form a transitional government by the end of November with Mr. Machar taking back the post of Vice-President he held until July 2016. The pursuit of this transitional government is to lead the country to independent elections that will give the new government in South Sudan. Both leaders are being nominated for this election.
The history of the Civil War
The Civil War in South Sudan began in December 2013 and two years after the official independence of Sudan (2011). The personal conflict between the two men of Mr. Machar and Mr. Kiir, who are both war veterans with the Khartoum, it led to the biggest bloodiest war in Africa.
The main cause of the outbreak of the Civil War is because in the same state two main different tribes coexist between the clans fighting for the control of executive power. The Nuer tribe led by Mr. Machar and the tribe of Dinka whose eminent representative is the President of South Sudan, Mr. Kiir.
The aim of both sides is which of the two tribes will manage to control and append to it acting the national army of South Sudan. Since whoever controls the army and by extension its weapons can at any time seize power by coup.
Within this framework of approach on both sides there is an attempt to increase the armed members of each side that will join the ranks of the national army. For this reason, forcibly young boys are recruited into their armed forces. The girls are forcibly and recruited as sex slaves to serve the soldiers.
The increased size of the national army including the armed forces of both sides of the civil war will skyrocket the country’s public spending. If on the other hand the two leaders agree to limit the number of soldiers to be included in the national army they will face, sooner or later, with their own comrades who will ask for steady income and allowances to live in exchange for the armed services offered to the two leaders.
The incorporation of more and more soldiers into the army and/or the police has the concept of securing a fixed income-salary in exchange for the support of each leader.
The bad state of the economy will necessarily lead to developments in the talks
But here the very bad economic situation in which the South Sudan economy is located is entering the equation. As the main and unique product exported by South Sudan is oil, it does not leave much room for complacency since its revenues have been used by both sides to finance the Civil War and for staff enrichment. In fact, it is stated that both sides have borrowed capital against the future revenues from oil.
The South Sudanese economy is in a tragic situation as annual inflation is at 51.90% and GDP per capita annually (2018) is at $690 (Source: www.tradingeconomics.com). The two leaders should speak candidly to the people and announce a cut in defense spending from $36million per year (2018) at the level of $15million per year for four consecutive years.
The economic solution
The annual savings from defense expenditures of approximately $21 million should then be redirected towards the granting of small capital to unemployed citizens to open their own small business either in the service sector or in the agricultural and/or livestock sector. With this given capital will be possible to conduct the necessary market research, to pay the initial rents, purchase of products for sale or the necessary tools to be used, etc.
At the same time, the UN, in addition to the humanitarian aid that should continue, could develop a program similar to the programs implemented by International Organization for Migration (IOM) as to the return of illegal immigrants to work back home-country with aim to help them to open their own business by providing a small capital.
In this case, South Sudan will slowly and steadily start to stand on its own feet, while also repaying its public debt, giving its citizens the opportunity to create and feed their families. But the basic prerequisite is the cessation of civil war and the preservation of peace throughout the country.