Just a decade before its independence in 1st January 1956, when the 1947 Juba Conference was convened, S. Sudan representatives opted for unity with the rest of the Sudan when independence comes. This seemed to be the first effort for preparing for a peaceful post- independence Sudan. The economy in its part was also promising as Sudan at the time was a leading producer of cotton in the world. This produce was shipped wholly to Lancashire, UK. textile factories.
• Hopes for a peaceful post–independence start were
quashed when, just less than two years before independence, a mutiny erupted in Southern Sudan and a war flared with the Central Government. The war continued up to 1972 when the Addis Ababa Accords were signed between the Government and the rebels. Peace prevailed for a decade and stability was achieved, allowing for a modest level of development to start.
• In 1983 the Agreement collapsed due to internal wranglings among southern politicians, which the central government failingly handled. War re-erupted in 1983 whenthe South Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army SPLM/A led by the late Dr. John Garangm unleashed a civil strife that continued until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, in 2005, between the Government of the Sudan and the rebel SPLM/A.
• Thus, Sudan was kept buissy in its contemporary history away from nation building, as it was totally preoccupied by the two main issues of peace and development, which are linked and correlated.
• The quest for peace, since independence, could be divided into three phases:
• The earlier effort was in the sixties. A round table
conference was convened in 1965.This conference brought
northern and southern elites and political forces to discuss governance and how south sudan should be ruled. unfortunately, the conference ended without much progress.
• The second effort was the one that led to the 1972 Addis
Ababa Accords that resulted in self rule for South Sudan and a share in governing the north (appointing a Vice-President hailing from South Sudan).This attempt also collapsed in 1983 , as stated before.
• The third was the Naivasha (Kenya) lengthy and complex
negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the
SPLM/A, which produced the CPA.Then, the CPA with the
1998 Sudan's Constitution were used as a basis for the
enactment of the Interim Constitution of Sudan of 2005.
• The underlining Sudan Government strategy in Naivasha was that peace is a strategic goal, and it is only achievable if the parties and some players, in the region and outside the region, changed their attitude and focussed on peace realization, casting away any other agenda. Fortunately, the endorsement by the Government and all major political forces in the north of the principle of the right of self-determination for the south, gave an encouraging signal to the success of the negotiations.
• The CPA embodied an advanced basic law which contained a bill of rights ensuring guarantees of rights and freedoms, principles of the rule of law, separation of powers, good governance and transparency.
• The CPA provided a significant share of wealth and power at the national level for southern Sudan and at all the states. The CPA devolves extensive powers to the regional and state levels within a federal system of government. This is while more resources were allocated to the states with a bigger margin to utilize national resources for local development. The two parties agreed to work together to make unity attractive for the people of southern Sudan. The implementation of the CPA was within a period of six years followed by a referendum for the people of southern Sudan to decide on unity or secession .The parties to the negotiation also adopted Protocols to resolve issues of Abyei, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, while special peace settlement was reached with the rebels in eastern Sudan which went on successfully.
• With the Naivasha agreement the long war in the South came to an end, and the challenges of peace replaced the agonies of war. The war in the southern Sudan was the biggest threat to the state. The protracted war continued almost all the postindependence era of the Sudan, becoming the longest war in Africa .The roots of the problem lies mainly with the colonial power, which, for reasons of its own divided the country into two, and enacted the Closed District Ordinance Policy in 1935 that prohibited contact between the north and south, and included the Nuba Mountains and southern Blue Nile, thereby planting seeds of alienation and mistrust among these parts of the country and the center . The mistrust of the north by many of the elites in the south, where the education in a closed area by the colonial administration was too limited, added to the complexity of the situation. In the aftermath of the colonial era,demand like federation was seen at that time as a step towards separation in African countries facing the same challenges. So, the central government was not ready at that earlier time to make sufficient compromises except in Addis Ababa (1972), and lately the Naivasha negotiations.
• Unfortunately, shortly after the war ended in the south , it flared in Darfur due to local societal conflicts between farmers and nomads (pastoralists), encouraged by excessive external intervention aiming at a regime change in Khartoum which is also the political programe of few unpopular sudanese political parties.
• Following the strategic peace strategy, the government signed peace resolutions with the rebels and dissidents of Darfur in Abuja(Nigeria) and Doha(Qatar),though some of the rebels refused to join or defected. But still the government is reaching them out to join what has been signed with possible special political dispensation for their groups.
• However, the Government in spite of the adverse effects of the rebellion in Darfur and some problems in the implementation of the CPA , particularly in South Kordafan and Blue Nile , continued to fulfill its unwavering peace strategy. In many cases like the national and state elections, the referendum, the recognition of the new state, and others, some observers in the world were skeptical if the Government will continue to commit to them. But this is what the Government did as it kept telling the world that it will do. The President, for example personally flew to Juba, just a week before the referendum to assure the people in southern Sudan that Sudan would respond to the wish of the people there, whatsoever that wish was, and would fully and timely abide by the outcome.
• The search for peace also led the Sudan to pursue lengthy
negotiations with the Government of South Sudan to resolve
the post-referendum issues to sustain peace and, particularly,
to maintain good neighborhood and linkages in case of
secession. Accordingly, since 2010 before the referendum, the two parties were negotiating under the facilitation of the
African Union High-level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) headed by his Mr. Thabo Mbeki former South African President . Finally the two parties, in September 2012 signed nine Cooperation Agreements including Security, Borders, Nationals, Oil, Economic Matters, Debts, Pensions and others, and signed an Implementation Matrix for the Agreements in March 2013. The Government of the Sudan consistently affirmed that it would genuinely commit itself to fair and prompt implementation of all the agreed.
• While the quest for peace continues, it is clear that peace and development are inseparable. Development has to be pursued to insure the sustainability of peace, a balanced development which, as a priority, should be targeting poverty reduction and better services for the most vulnerable and capacity building, improved infrastructure to boost agricultural and industrial productivity and production. The ingredients for that are there. Sudan with its abundant waters, arable land and livestock, now have relatively better infrastructure including inter-state roads , energy, communications network and a conducive legal and structural set-up for the foreign direct investment (FDI). The Sudan has also promising oil reserves and minerals resources including gold which is currently produced commercially in small quantity, using traditional mining techniques, engaging a considerable population from different parts of the Sudan. The potentialities and promising investments in the Sudan have been attested to by the World Bank's recent report.
• Sudan is strategically located in the heart of Africa,
neighboring important countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia (across the Red Sea), connected to the Horn of Africa, central and north Africa . Sudan has one of the longest coasts on the Red Sea thus serving as a link and bridge between Africa, the Arab world and the Middle East. It is therefore imperative that Sudan should attain sustainable peace and be availed the opportunity to develop not only for its own peoples' sake, but definitely for the mutual interests of the region and continent at large.
• The Sudan’s economy is developing positively, at a two digital figure growth for almost a decade before the separation of southern Sudan. An economic shock was experienced by the Sudan because of its sudden loss of the revenues from the oil produced in South Sudan. It is projected that the economy would start recovery by 2015 especially that the Government has adopted a package of economic reform measures that are necessary for recovery and the take-off .
• Preparing for development, the Government, early enough adopted economic liberalization and privatization policies, which included anti- trust (monopoly) laws to insure free competition. The state further sold most of its economic enterprises to the private sector, leaving a few production and service enterprises in the hands of the state, and even those are currently laid for privatization.
• In the course of Sudan /South Sudan cooperation, the two
Nations are still faced with the remaining issues of implementing the Abyei Protocol which describes the area of Abyei as a bridge between northern and southern Sudan, and fulfilling the demarcation of the international boundary between the two countries (most portions of it are agreed upon). The two states are able to resolve the remaining implementation issues through continuing dialogue and positive interaction, particularly that the two states now own an accumilation of expertise to reach understandings after they signed nine cooperation agreements, and advancing well in the process implementation.
• The two states are committed to the principle of two viable states living peacefully side by side and cooperating which entails concrete commitment to the agreed security arrangements that guarantee the mutual security of the two, including ceasing of harboring and support of hostile elements in the two countries, and in establishing a safe demilitarized border zone between the two countries so that peace is sustained and flow of nationals, trade, oil be the pattern of linkage through soft-borders.
• Therefore, the scenarios of doom which were predicted by some observers for the relations between Sudan and South Sudan were proved to be non-existent.
• The attention by the international community, should be for the sustenance of peace and development in Sudan and South Sudan for the best of the region and the continent.
• The regional and international community held consultative meeting on Sudan/South Sudan co-operation in New York (27 September 2013), whereby they pledged to :
• Support the lifting of unilateral sanctions against Sudan
(the sanctions are damaging prospects of peace and
development and hurting the masses).
• Support the joint outreach process agreed by Sudan
and South Sudan with the AUHIP which is leading the
outreach process, for debt relief to Sudan(It is known
that Sudan is technically eligible for the HIPC initiative
for debt relief. But the relief is basically blocked for
unjustifiable political reasons underlined by the
• Support Sudan to fill one third of the economic gap due
to secession according to the Co-operation Agreement
(estimated by the IMF to be about 3.5 billion $).
• Support South Sudan to get development aid to meet the
needs for human and to economic capacity building of
the new state.
• Contribute to targeted regional cross-border
development projects for the transboundary population
between Sudan and South Sudan.
• The hope is that, this time, the international community will really deliver, unlike its poorly perfomance with regards to previous pledges, including, after signing the CPA, holding of the general elections, holding the referendum and respecting the result (separation ) by sacrificing third of its land, fifth of its population and much considerable portion of its budget and export revenues. The pledges were poorly delivered, also, after signing the nine co-operation agreements with South Sudan, and before that after signing peace accords with the rebels in Darfur and eastern Sudan in Nigeria, Qatar and Eritrea.