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Three years on, the euphoria surrounding South Sudan’s independence has ebbed away as the country slides deeper into civil war, writes Luke Patey.

On 9 july 2011, thousands gathered at Freedom Square in Juba to celebrate the birth of the world’s newest country, South Sudan. After nearly a half-century of civil war with Sudan, and the loss of 2 million lives, the South Sudanese were finally free to shape their own future.

“Now that we have obtained the proverbial political kingdom,” said Salva Kiir Mayardit, South Sudan’s president and leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). “We are called upon to do what it takes to sustain a sovereign nation.”

Kiir sought to use South Sudan’s oil wealth to attract foreign investors and spur development of the new country. The plan was first laid out by South Sudan’s late founding father, Dr John Garang De Mabior, who saw oil as a means to unleash South Sudan’s agriculture potential and extract the young country from poverty. But South Sudan’s oil dream has yet to be realised.

Read the rest of the article at Petroleum Economist

Photo credit: UNAMID Photo via photopin cc