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July 2011

Yes, South Sudan Can

Shanta Devarajan's picture

At the recent launch of the book, Yes Africa Can: Success Stories from a Dynamic Continent, someone asked whether there are any lessons for Africa’s newest country, South Sudan.  I can think of at least three.

1.It can be done.  Yes Africa Can documents a number of countries, such as Mozambique and Uganda, which emerged from civil conflict and sustained above-7-percent GDP growth for over a decade.  It also describes the well-known case of a mineral exporter, Botswana, that had the world’s fastest per-capita growth rate (7 percent) from 1966-99.   These case studies show that South Sudan, which is both a post-conflict country and an oil exporter, can also succeed.

Cameroon: Towards better service delivery

Raju Jan Singh's picture

The quality of service delivery is fundamental for people's wellbeing, especially for the poor. This is why the situation in Cameroon is worrisome.

Indicators for service delivery in Cameroon tend to trail behind those observed in countries at similar income levels; and for indicators such as primary school completion or child mortality, the country does even worse than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Child’s Name is Independent Day Moses

Herbert Boh's picture

The clock stroke midnight on July 9 sparking an eruption into joyous madness as citizens of Juba broke into dance, song, horn honking, drum beats, blasts of the vuvuzela, and the ululations of women to celebrate the advent of South Sudan’s day of independence.

In the labor room of Juba University Teaching Hospital, Josephina, the mother of three other children was being encouraged: “A little more effort. Push!”

Pour qu’un Etat fonctionne il lui faut de bonnes institutions et des dirigeants de qualité.

Jacques Morisset's picture

Or, à Madagascar, seule 1/5 de la population déclare faire entièrement confiance à la Présidence et les taux sont encore plus faibles pour des institutions comme l’Assemblée nationale (6%) et les Tribunaux (4%).Comment s’attendre à ce que le Gouvernement puisse être performant, à travers sa politique budgétaire, si la vaste majorité des Malgaches ne font confiance ni à leurs institutions, ni à leurs dirigeants ? 

Kenya's quiet revolution

Johannes Zutt's picture

Kenya is in the midst of a quiet revolution—but many people, even in Kenya, seem to be unaware of it, or the enormous governance improvements that it is likely to bring.

We saw a new Kenya emerging last Friday when President Kibaki presided over an historic event that was hard to imagine in the old Kenya:   the launch of a government website, www.opendata.go.ke , that makes enormous volumes of government data available to the public in user-friendly formats. 

For the first time in Kenya’s history, core government data on population, the budget, education, health care and other public services are available to policy-makers, researchers, ICT developers, and citizens in an easily-accessible format.  This portal is one of the first and largest government portals with reusable data in sub-Saharan Africa, making Kenya one of the world’s leading exemplars of open data (see Time magazine's "Silicon Savanna").

But many observers of Kenya are unimpressed.  Why is that? 

HIV/AIDS, the silent war in Africa

Damien de Walque's picture

Under-5 mortality is often used—perhaps implicitly—as a measure of “population health”.  But what is happening to adult mortality in Africa? 

In a recent working paperi , we combine data from 84 Demographic and Health Surveys from 46 countries, and calculate mortality based on the sibling mortality reports collected from female respondents aged 15-49. The working paper is available here and the database we used for the analysis can be found here.

We find that adult mortality is quite different from child mortality (under-5 mortality)1.   This is perhaps obvious to most readers, but is clearly illustrated in figure 1. While in general both under-5 and adult mortality decline with per-capita income, and over time, the latter effect is much smaller for adult mortality, which has barely shifted in countries outside Africa between 1975-79 and 2000-04.

But in sub-Saharan Africa, contrary to under-5 mortality everywhere and to adult mortality outside of Africa, adult mortality increased between 1975-79 and 2000-04 and the relationship between adult mortality and income became positive in Africa as indicated by the upward sloping line in 2000-04.

This diverging and dramatic trend for sub-Saharan Africa is mainly driven by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

I was there when the Republic of South Sudan was born!

Obiageli Ezekwesili's picture


Obiageli Ezekwesili (c) with South Sudan President Salva Kiir (r). Photo: Laura Kullenberg, The World Bank

4:00 AM: I wake up this morning in Nairobi unusually excited and think to myself, “today is actually the Independence Day of South Sudan. Wow! This day has finally come!” I say a word of prayer for the day and get myself ready for the 5:30 a.m. trip to the airport to board our flight to Juba.

South Sudan: “Juba-lant” as dreams turn into reality

Manka Angwafo's picture


 Photo: A line of “boda bodas” queuing for fuel along the main road in Juba town

For the past three weeks I have been working in Juba, South Sudan. In a meeting with the government last week, an official said to me, “…we are dreaming, but come July 9th everything will change and our dreams will become reality.”

On July 9th South Sudan will become an independent country, following the longest civil war in African history.

Driving through Juba, one cannot fail to notice the preparations taking place; from the exceptionally clean streets and banners spread across public buildings to the soon-to-be national anthem on repeat on the radio. There is a sense of excitement, longing and hope.

However, tension surrounding the conflict in South Kordofan casts a cloud on celebrations and underscores the risks ahead.