Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Southern Sudan: the new kid on the block?

01 Apr 2010 - 12:31
Assessing the neighbourhood on the threshold of Southern Sudan's self-determination referendum

As Sudan has entered the final and most critical year of its post-war transition period, the other countries comprising the Horn and central Africa are on the alert. Southern Sudan's self-determination referendum, scheduled for January 2011, could result in partition of the country and may possibly prompt the resurgence of violent North-South conflict. In any case, the emergence of an independent South would have profound regional implications.

With the stability of the entire Horn and central Africa on the line, this policy brief offers a preliminary assessment of how Southern Sudan's bordering states are likely to position themselves with regard to this potential 'new kid on the block', and explores various political-economic interests that could come into play. It argues that failure to recognize the connections between the region's many problems is a recipe for ill-considered interventions. Therefore, in any future international involvement in Southern Sudan, careful notice should be taken of its neighbours, their actions and concerns.