Institutions are important in mitigating the extent to which shocks produce violent consequences, but their effectiveness is conditioned by the behavior of local and international leaders. Ostensibly perfect institutions may fail due to poor stewardship, while even imperfect ones can succeed at preventing violent escalation if local and international political leaders have sufficient political will.
Sudan and South Sudan
Without a broader regional approach â€“ and a consensual one at that â€“ neither South Sudan nor the region as a whole are likely to see more stability in the future.
The widespread lack of peace and security is not the only problems that Africa faces, but they are at the heart of them: development and good governance cannot thrive in situations of violence and instability. As such, the very theme of the summitâ€“Peace and Security in Africaâ€“is very aptly chosen. It is a reflection of the challenges for Africa, as well as of the concerns and self-interests of its international partners.
The current rank of being the fourth most failed state in the world that South Sudan occupies on the state failure index does not come as a tremendous surprise and there is little reason to celebrate this second anniversary of South Sudan’s statehood. At best, it is an achievement that the situation has not deteriorated further into civil war or an all-out military confrontation with Sudan.
A year after independence, continuing tension with the North is not the only challenge facing South Sudan. From the uncertain fate of the disputed territory of Abyei and cross-border inter-communal conflicts, to a lack of economic infrastructure and food insecurity, combined with a persistent failure to build successful institutions, South Sudanâ€™s beginning as an independent state is rife with dangers.
Two rather sobering conclusions are difficult to escape one year after South Sudan’s independence: the situation in the country has hardly improved for the majority of its population and most challenges that have plagued South Sudan have their causes in local leadership failures.
As clear as the vote in favour of independence was, as formidable are the challenges lying ahead for North and South, as well as the international community, in managing the coming separation.
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