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Civil War

The curse of treasure in fragile states

Nicholas van Praag's picture
 
    Bless them.   Photo source Wikipedia.

As people return from the holiday break in early January, the citizens of south Sudan will be voting in a long-awaited referendum.  Polls suggest there will be a big majority in favor of southern independence. Boosting people’s hopes for the new state are its oil reserves worth some $2 billion a year.

Sorting out how the North and South will divvy up the benefits of oil is not clear.  While most of the oil is in the South, the export and refining infrastructure is in the North. Revenues are currently shared roughly 50-50 but there is no agreement yet over the fate of Abyei, a significant oil producing region on the North/South border.

Still, the prospect of oil revenues is central to southern thinking about financing its way to a better future. Assuming the problems with the north are sorted out, are they right to see their natural resource endowment as the basis for future prosperity?

Day trip to Dachau

Nicholas van Praag's picture

I was in Mozambique last week trying to work out how to dodge the volcanic ash and get back to Washington DC. Checking my itinerary on-line, the system advised me that I could use my stopover in Munich to visit Dachau concentration camp.

Was this for real? A day trip to one of the most horrendous killing grounds of the twentieth century (alternative suggestions were a boat ride on the Danube and a tour of Munich’s beer gardens).

Screenshot of the website showing a menu of activities available in Munich.