WORLDPOST

Juba, World's Newest Nation, Would Start Almost From Scratch In Africa

01/16/2011 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

JUBA, Sudan -- As world capitals go, this surely would rank among the more modest. No grand boulevards; only a few two-lane roads. No commanding monuments; only some grim government buildings rising from dirt lots that turn to muck when it rains.

Nothing, however, captures the unassuming air of Juba better than the warm equatorial wind that blows through the city, sweeping across muddy fields and grassy pastures, and deposits into the face of the unwitting visitor that distinctive scent of informality: cow manure.

Juba is a work in progress, but as the capital of Sudan's semiautonomous south its profile could soon increase dramatically. On Jan. 9, the Texas-sized region of some 8 million people is scheduled to hold a referendum on whether to secede from northern Sudan.

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