Next for South Sudan: Building an Economy

Officials want to wean the new nation off oil
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2011 7:18 AM CDT
A South Sudanese waves a flag of Southern Sudan as others sit on a wall to watch the first international soccer game of the their country's national soccer squad in the capital, Juba, July 10, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – In South Sudan, the world's newest nation, 98% of revenue comes from oil—and one of the first tasks its nascent government must tackle is how to change that, since oil revenue must still be split with the north. Work will begin today on building an economy that's not dependent on oil, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officials will focus on investment in the highly fertile agricultural sector, but much infrastructure work still needs to be done in order to woo potential investors.

South Sudan has just 30 miles of paved road, and none of those roads connect its capital to other large towns in the country. There is no decent airstrip, and what hotels and restaurants there are are mostly run by foreigners. But private investors in the areas of timber, mining, and oil have already acquired about 6.5 million acres of land in the country, and South Sudan's president believes the country can attract more "development partners both from the public and private sectors from many countries across the world."

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