Despite South Sudan's secession from the north, the saga is far from over.
South Sudan's declaration of independence from "North" Sudan closes another chapter in the decades-long civil war between the two regions, and many hope with it will come lasting peace. But tensions remain as key issues between the north and south have yet to be resolved. The next few months are vital to determining the success of the world's newest country.
Despite mutual hostility and mistrust, the two Sudans remain linked and inter-dependent. The North and the South should already have agreed on a host of post-separation matters such as shared natural resource management (oil, water, grazing rights, etc); allocation of the country's $38 billion debt and assets; the status of the contested Abyei area; citizenship for Southerners who still live and work in the North and vice versa; trade; as well as border demarcation and security arrangements necessary for peaceful cooperation.
The most important issue remains negotiating a new formula for allocating the South's oil revenue. Both countries are highly reliant on oil. It was reportedly the source of about nearly a third of Khartoum's revenue, and an astounding 98 per cent of Juba's income. Nearly Eighty per cent of the oil is in the South, but it is entirely reliant on the North's infrastructure to export it. Ultimately, however, the South's success hinges on whether it can develop other industries, such as agriculture. Indeed, such development could turn South Sudan into the breadbasket of Africa.
There are other concerns also, in particular citizenship of southerners living in the north and northerners living in the south. The North and South have not finalized details about the south's new currency or how they will share outstanding debts. It also has yet to form trade and financial agreements with the north, which are vital to peaceful interaction between the two countries.
Not only must the South finalize its foreign affairs, but it must also focus on domestic issues. Its draft constitution, signed July 7, is not as democratic as some had hoped. South Sudan can increase its chances of stability by making its government more inclusive.
Much remains to be done to ensure South Sudan's success. I spoke with EJ about what should happen after the secession. Listen to our conversation below.