While there’s still a lot of hope and optimism here these days, everything is juuuuuust a tidbit less bright and shiny than it was, say, six or eight months ago.
An article in the Sudan Tribune today underscored, in pretty blatant language, the realities of things these days:
And since you probably won’t click into the link, here’s some of my favorite parts:
“[T]he World Bank has never seen a [situation] as dramatic as the one faced by South Sudan,” the World Bank’s Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programs for Africa Marcelo Giugale is quoted… Giugale told the donors that neither South Sudan president Salva Kiir nor senior member of his cabinet “were aware of the economic implications of the [oil] shutdown”.
According to the transcript, the World Bank official “candidly said that the decision was shocking and that officials present had not internalized nor understood the consequences of the decision”.
Again, it’s the whole Wile E. Coyote syndrome again. If we just keep saying everything will be fine, then everything will be fine, right?
As a result of “sharp” drop in influx of hard currency and once citizens in South Sudan realize that value of their local currency is slipping “there will be a run for the dollars and families with dollars will almost certainly shift them outside the country”.
Giugale pointed out that because most South Sudanese are not fully financial literate the run on the point has not yet happened. “Once it starts, the currency will almost certainly collapse,” Giugale says.
Social impact of the oil shutdown is no less daunting as Giugale points out. The percentage of population in living in poverty will jump from 51% in 2012 to 83% in 2013. In gross numbers 3.6 million more people will fall below the poverty line.
Under-five child mortality will double from 10% live births in 2012 to 20% in 2013 and school enrollment will drop from 50% to 20% over the same time period.
But hey, at least there’s a new expat coffee shop in town to keep us all distracted:
I really don’t know what freaked me out more – the guy rollerblading down a tarmacked road in Nimule, or the froofy coffee drink that I got at the new cafe across town.
Oh they also have cheeseburger pizza.
So the country has no money, no one can get dollars, and poverty rates are about to skyrocket, but hey at least I can get fancy coffee and multiple versions of fast food in one dish.