It is a great period to be alive as an African! Really, this generation will be known as the generation that changed the history of Africa.
Today, the results are out, Sudan is now separated and there is an additional state in Africa! Finally, Sudan divided has a chance because democracy is at work. No one should be treated as a third class citizen in their own country- Islamic North apparently felt a bit superior to the Nubian south, which is ridiculous cause they had the oil.
What does this mean for Sudan?
In a way, they are being given the button for a “Do-over”. That means that one learns from their mistakes and does better the next round. Better yet, learn from the mistakes of the rest of the African countries, and do better in their trade agreements and governance.
1. Learn to tread easily with the Chinese
The Chinese might pay for the oil, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t try to influence the social norms of the newly founded country. Right now, China has the greatest influence in the country economically. Southern Sudan will have to learn that they need to be equal partners on the negotiating table because they have what China wants-OIL. The rest of the world will just be watching and waiting to pounce. Don’t forget your former countrymen, because guaranteed, they will interfere.
2. Carefully position themselves as neutral on the US and China
Guaranteed, the US will try, and will do its absolute best to influence the politics of the new state. They will send “envoys” and the CIA will be active in making sure those who disagree are taken out of the way. The best way is to not be friends with either China or the US for that matter. Neutrality is the key. If there was a cold war to be fought, it would have to be between China’s idealistic endeavor of not being involved in human rights, and the US pretense at world democracy and support of human rights ( that they are very much more perpetrators than protectors), If there is a war of ideals, Southern Sudan is ripe for it. Therefore, if the fate of Somalia is not the desired end result for this new region, they will have to play the game better, and cautiously.
3. A multi-party System Constitution
Obviously one state systems have not worked for Africa. There is no reason why this will work in Southern Sudan now. Therefore, there has to be a lead- of example to where a strong constitution enabling freedom of the people is enabled. Otherwise, it would be pointless to have voted for separation and freedom and end up oppressing each other. the one thing that African states have failed at so far is the creation of a stable government. Maybe this will be the lead-by example hope that Africans had been looking for. At the moment, with the riots in Egypt, and Tunisia- Africa is ripe for a stronger, and fair government, led by the people for the people. If Southern Sudan could learn a thing or two, it is that a stronger government creates a stronger economy, society, and has a better bargaining position Internationally.
4. Eye Aid with Caution
Ndambisa Moyo has been a staunch advocate for a no-Aid Africa. It wouldn’t hurt if Southern Sudan tried this model before sinking into debt like the rest of its African counterparts. Aid is good, if it comes in the form of Human Capital development. Therefore, say yes to teachers, engineers, computer analysts and such. Monetary funds will corrupt- it is a proven historical experience with African nations. One that they might not be able to escape. However, to pay with money one doesn’t have is a dangerous game to play.
5. Favor process over outcome.
Getting there is important, but the journey is even more important. It is the journey to a stable, working government that will favor a stronger people
Oh and one more thing…PLEASE DO NOT NAME YOUR CITIES AFTER ANIMALS!