I am going to ask about 10 mind-blowing questions, and I expect South Sudanese all over the world to answer them. They may be challenging, but I need my people to know that the songs were sang, stories were written, and social media have been captured by the theories that South Sudan is the richest country in Africa. Stories are that it has a lot of natural resources, and thus, there is a potential to attract investors and tourists to come and pour their money into industries such as agriculture, education, business and entrepreneurship, among others, in order to promote infrastructure, create employment opportunities to empower the young people.
But despite having all these riches, the country has still been ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, with a serious economic crisis and fragile environment, which makes it difficult for citizens and foreign nationals to operate businesses and run daily activities for a living.
This theory, which should be proven or defended to convince the whole world and South Sudanese in particular, to make them understand how rich South Sudan is but people are still poor, motivated me to write this article, and I hope it captures not only your attention but also your thinking and judgement capacity.
If the country is rich, why is there no development?
I do not deny that the country is experiencing little progress in terms of development, but that should not have been the speed of moving forward. Since the country is rich with mountains and oil why are the plenty of rocks and oil residues not used for constructing tarmac roads to connect not only the towns but all states and villages in South Sudan?
If the roads are conducive, the citizens would freely move and transport their goods, hence helping the economic life of the civil population. Why still do we have to count the towers in the city, yet we are supposed to have a lot of tall buildings? If you are in Juba, moving on the highways, you would think Juba has rapidly developed, but if you visit residency roads, especially during the rainy season, you will get disappointed.
I recall one lecturer based in Juba saying that the last time he went to teach in a certain school in Juba, there was a heavy rain and the roads were flooded and inaccessible, and therefore, he reached home and just made calls to resign on the phone. Most roads in Juba become muddy and movement of cars and pedestrians become difficult.
If this is a rich country, why aren’t more schools built in all towns and villages?
The role of the government is to discover the country’s natural resources. This is not to divide it into everyone’s plate but utilise them for development especially in education. More than 12 years in existence as an independent country have gone down in history, and the world is looking at the South Sudanese, expecting them to use the wealth they are talking about for improving education such that instead of travelling around the world searching for a better but expensive education, the children could just study at home.
This issue was echoed by the founder of Darling Wisdom Academy, Nobel Arem Riak, who said: “we need to invest in education to have home-based learning.” The truth about this vision is now proven with return of many South Sudanese from Uganda, Kenya and other countries to study home. Since the country has become one of the East African community members, one should think that South Sudan is also in East Africa and they can find the education they want here. Why not then build many schools, train enough teachers and provide the learning materials for education to improve?
Remember the Quote of Dr. John Garang, “take town to the people, it is not taking Juba town to Malakal or Wau, but the services through a better leadership should also be extended to the people of South Sudan in every corner, town and to the grassroots.”
If a rich country, why depend on free funding and loans?
Being helped by others is good but one should help him or herself first, and the same to South Sudan. It has to do some things in personal capacity and then wait for the helping hand. If you are always following media, you have read or heard that South Sudan has been given pledges of million dollars for either peace, education, health care, security, water and so forth. And I don’t want to ask who takes this money, but the reality is that the money doesn’t go into right-honest hands but greedy individuals. So, with a lot of monetary support from well-wishers, Governments and NGOS what does South Sudan do with such money?