Slightly Less Bright and Shiny

Just returned from a quick trip to the States (hence the jet lag post, which by about day 4 I just realized it was better to never get over, and now after 1 day back in Juba I’m fine and dandy).  Nearly every time someone asked me how things were going in South Sudan these days, the only response I could come up with was, “Slightly less optimistic than, per se, a year ago?”

Roving Bandit’s latest blog post highlights this through some pretty telling inflation graphs from SSNBS:

Here’s the latest inflation figures for South Sudan from last Friday – prices jumped 30% between April and May.

I’d be interested to see the figures for Northern Sudan, but last time I checked the Northern stats agency had a much longer delay on releases.

I don’t think its necessarily clear yet that the South is feeling the pressure any more than the North (though I’m open to persuasion). In any case, I’m still hopeful that as both sides gradually run out of options (boosting tiny non-oil collections, begging corrupt elites to give back the money they stole*…) they will be forced to make that deal and get production going again.

So there’s that. Also while I was away, apparently I missed some fairly amusing things, such as a woman being turned into a snake (no… really.  I’ve been requested to MS Paint that, however there are so many people here who believe the story I would feel too insensitve), and the country’s first “marathon” (which was only a half marathon and 10k, but, hey, it’s Juba Good).

*And apparently officials have stolen $4bn.  But don’t worry, they’ll just give it back, if Kiir asks nicely:

South Sudanese officials have “stolen” an estimated $4 billion of public money and should return it to salvage the young nation’s reputation and help lift its people out of poverty, the president said in a letter seen on Monday.

Erm… mmmhmmm….

Good to be back.


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