By Emmanuel Malual, Nairobi, Kenya
Friday, 08 September 2023 (PW) — South Sudan recently hosted a long-anticipated mega-economic conference in an unexpected turn of events. However, this extravagant affair has ignited a significant controversy, with many citizens expressing their dismay and labelling it a case of misplaced priorities. As South Sudan grapples with the daunting task of implementing peace agreements and addressing pressing socio-economic issues, questions have arisen regarding the timing and relevance of this event. In this article, we delve into the sentiments of the South Sudanese people, who argue that the conference fails to align with the nation’s urgent needs.
Amidst their hopes for lasting peace and tangible progress, numerous South Sudanese citizens have voiced their disappointment and frustration over prioritising a mega-economic conference over critical national issues. One anonymous citizen remarked, “We are struggling to implement the peace agreements and rebuild our economy. The allocation of resources and energy toward a conference of this magnitude demonstrates misplaced priorities.”
South Sudan, a nation scarred by years of conflict, is diligently working to solidify its hard-won peace agreements and heal the wounds of its past. As resources and attention are needed to implement vital reforms, critics contend that the investment in a mega-economic conference sends a conflicting message to the people. “We require practical solutions and immediate action to address poverty, unemployment, and other socio-economic challenges. This conference feels like a diversion from the real issues,” one concerned citizen expressed.
While proponents of the conference argue that it showcases South Sudan’s potential and attracts international investors, skeptics point out that such endeavours should align with the country’s primary concerns. A prominent journalist specialising in South Sudan’s economic struggles noted, “The timing of this mega National economic conference raises eyebrows and fuels doubts about the government’s commitment to addressing the pressing needs of its citizens. Balancing economic growth promotion and addressing the root causes of our challenges is crucial.”
In response to the public outcry, government officials have emphasised that the conference aims to bring domestic and international stakeholders together to explore avenues for sustainable economic growth. They have highlighted the potential benefits of attracting investments and forging partnerships, asserting that a thriving economy is essential for stability and progress. However, critics argue that the nation’s immediate priorities, including implementing peace agreements and fostering social cohesion, should take precedence over large-scale conferences.
The mega-economic conference in South Sudan has sparked a heated debate about resource allocation and attention amidst the country’s ongoing struggles. While some view it as a catalyst for economic advancement, others express concerns about misplaced priorities. As South Sudan moves forward, it faces the challenge of harmonising the urgent needs of its people with the broader goal of achieving sustainable economic development—a delicate balancing act that will test the leadership’s ability to prioritise effectively.
In a surprising turn, South Sudan, plagued by years of economic hardships and internal conflicts, has glimpsed a ray of hope. Today, the war-torn nation hosted a momentous Mega National Economic Conference with an ambitious aim of spending $10 million to host a National economic conference, as the country yearns for peace amidst the rampant corruption and insecurity that have engulfed its very core.
South Sudan has encountered immense challenges on its journey to economic stability. Conflicts and political turmoil have left the country teetering on the brink of despair, casting a shadow over its potential growth. The conference, organised by the government, resonates with something other than the views of South Sudanese citizens.
Officials from South Sudan attending the conference have stressed that lasting economic growth cannot be achieved without addressing the deep-seated conflicts that impede progress. Civil society organisations, international partners, and regional leaders have united in their call for sustained peace, urging all parties to set aside their differences in the interest of the country’s future.
With ten million dollars on the line, the Mega National Economic Conference in Juba should have been allocated to all ten states plus the three administrative areas of South Sudan to boost agriculture projects, infrastructure development, education, healthcare, and job creation for millions of youths.
Rampant corruption has plagued South Sudan for far too long, hindering progress and exacerbating economic hardships. In light of this, delegates at the conference have underscored the urgent need for robust anti-corruption measures. The government must take decisive action to root out corrupt practices and establish transparent systems to rebuild trust among citizens and international partners.
Insecurity poses another significant obstacle to South Sudan’s economic growth. Citizens argue that the conference should be held after the country tackles challenges like insecurity; upholding the rule of law and promoting national reconciliation will be crucial elements in the fight against insecurity.
The Mega National Economic Conference represents a rare opportunity for South Sudan to reimagine its future. By addressing the underlying causes of economic struggles, including corruption and insecurity, and harnessing the support of international partners, the country can pave the path towards sustained development and prosperity.
The challenges are immense, but as the conference concludes, hope flickers on the horizon, promising a brighter future for the people of South Sudan.