South Sudan set to become Eastern Africa’s bread-basket

JUBA, 6 July 2011 – The independent South Sudan has the potential and plans to become the bread basket for the Eastern African region, H.E. Dr. Anne Itto, the minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has said.

Addressing the media at the South Sudan Hotel in Juba today, Dr. Itto said that South Sudan will produce at least two million metric tonnes of food both for local consumption and for export by 2013.

“When Southern Sudanese voted for separation in the January referendum, they simply did so because they believed freedom would offer them opportunity for better lives and we believe as a government when we take our theme ‘better lives for all’ it is possible through agriculture”, she asserted.

She said though the government and South Sudanese appreciate other resources like oil which supports the bulk of the country’s developmental budget, she explained that Agriculture cannot be ignored.

“The government has given priority to agriculture…we are working towards increased food production through expansion of the production area from 3 to 5 hectares of farmland”, she said. Dr. Itto explained that given that the majority of South Sudanese live in the rural settings, it is not possible to make meaningful change in their lives without investing in agriculture and animal husbandry.


Dr. Itto (right) stresses a point to the media as Dr. Marial (left) looks on.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The minister also emphasized that South Sudan is blessed with rich natural resources. “We have over 64,000 square kilometers of land, we receive nine months of rainfall in a year...this can be used to grow crops like maize, millet, sorghum and Irish potatoes”, said she.

Dr. Itto also said that South Sudan’s strategic location in the region would play a vital role in terms of market catchment. “With the good fertile soil and vast land we can produce enough food for the region”, she said. She said that the government has developed requisite policies and strategies to meet this target.

She encouraged the people not to disdain agriculture. “Most of our people think agriculture is a thing for the old people or the uneducated people; they think that once you engage in agriculture nobody will listen to you”, she explained. She called on all the people to help change this attitude.

She also urged investors to consider agriculture. “Most of the investors who come here today only invest in hotels, café and oil sectors where they think they can make quick returns”, she said. Dr. Itto also called on the development partners to work shoulder by shoulder with the government to rehabilitate the agricultural training institutes in Yambio, Yei, Halima and Politaka to empower the people to engage productively in agriculture.

The minister also said that the government will provide improved seeds, farm equipment and insecticides to enhance agriculture in the country. She also said that the government will invest in irrigation to mitigate unpredictable climatic conditions.

Dr. Itto was accompanied at the press conference by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information who is also the Official GOSS spokesperson.

Reported by Matata Safi

Joy, pomp and colour as celebrations begin in Juba

JUBA, 5 July 2011 – There are three days left before the most awaited celebration of independence of South Sudan but in the capital, Juba, the party has already begun. People from all walks of life stormed to the streets today singing, dancing and shouting slogans in praise of the new nation.


The SPLA leading the parrade in Juba
[Photo: Matata safi]

It all started in the morning when all units of the armed forces including civil society, scouts and girl guides marched all the way from Buluk police headquarters to the Dr. Garang Mausoleum in a show of pomp and colour.

Later in the lazy afternoon heat when the hitherto scorching sun begins its journey to set, a huge group of women, youth and children moving on foot and in vehicles yet again stormed the streets of Juba in a joyful march.


School children were also not left behind.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Deng, one of the demonstrators said that the people can’t wait for 9th July. He said his happiness began on the day it was announced that 98 percent of southerners had voted for secession. “In fact if it was not because of the CPA timetable I would have expected that we become independent immediately after the declaration of the referendum results”, he said.

Deng’s view captures the mood of the people in Juba and elsewhere in South Sudan. Finally, the freedom the liberation heroes and heroines fought for is here!


A sea of people wave flags celebrating the independence of South Sudan in advance.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Reported by Matata Safi

Information minister assures on citizenship

JUBA, 4 July 2011 – The minister for Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has assured South Sudanese that citizenship issues have been ironed out and ready to be executed after declaration of independence this Saturday.

During a press briefing today at the South Sudan Hotel in Juba, the minister the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan allows dual citizenship. “So, if you have an Australian, Canadian or American citizenship, you will be given your right of being a citizen of this country so long as your mother or father is a South Sudanese”, he explained.

He also explained that South Sudanese who were forced to flee South Sudan to the northern part of the country due to the effects of the two decades of civil war are welcome back to South Sudan if they voluntarily return to the South. “You know the Government of Southern Sudan has been doing its best to support the voluntary return of South Sudanese from the North; we are not forcing them to return but if they wish to, the government will always facilitate their return”, Dr. Marial explained.

Dr. Marial also said that GOSS does not have a problem with South Sudanese who voluntarily wish to remain in the North if the government in the North chooses to give them citizenship status there.

“We have heard the Khartoum government saying that after 9th of July South Sudanese living in the North will be regarded as foreigners but we are negotiating with the government in the North to have a better policy in handling this matter”, Dr. Marial said. He also explained that in future when South Sudan establishes an embassy in Khartoum, it will identify and support South Sudanese living in Khartoum.


Dr. Marial (right) addresses the media accompanied by Mr. Paul Jacob Kumbo (left), the Director of Public Information.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

On the issue of Northern Sudanese living in South Sudan, Dr. Marial said that it is up to them to choose either to get residence permits or citizenship status in the South. “We have no problem with somebody who has been living in the South for ten or twenty years getting citizenship here”, he explained.

On the currency issues, the minister urged the people not to refuse the Sudanese Pound. This came as a result of an allegation that some hotels are refusing to accept payments remitted in the Sudanese Pounds. “Yes, we have our own currency which will be in place soon but this does not mean that the people should not accept the pounds”, he said. “If there is anybody out there refusing the pounds let us know”, he advised.

The minister explained further that the pound is a legal tender and a property of the Central Bank in Khartoum. “In the Central Bank we had two windows; the secular window which is for the Government of South Sudan and the Islamic window which is for the Government of Khartoum”, he explained. He reported that negotiations are ongoing with the North as to whether it will retrieve the pounds or reach an agreement on its fate in South Sudan.

Dr. Marial also said that the arrangements for passports and other immigration issues are in place. He said these services will be accessed after the proclamation of independence.

Reported by Matata Safi

President Kiir meets President Al-Bashir

ADDIS ABABA, 4 July 2011 – The First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday held a series of meetings with the President of the Republic H.E. Omar al-Bashir in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The United States special envoy to Sudan Mr. Princeton Layman told the press after the meeting yesterday evening that all the outstanding issues between the two parties - SPLM and NCP - will not be resolved before the 9th July 2011. However, he said that at least by that time there will be a clear understanding of how the unresolved issues will be resolved as well as the time frame.


President Kiir (left) shares a light moment with President Bashir (right) during their face-to-face meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mr. Layman disclosed that he met H.E Kiir to get his views on the steps necessary to complete the implementation process of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the SPLM and the NCP in 2005.

By Thomas Kenneth from Addis Ababa

Vacancies for secondary school teachers

JUBA, 4 July 2011 - The Ministry of Education, Government of Southern Sudan is seeking to recruit qualified Southn Ssudanese for the following vacant positions.


  1. Secondary School teachers for Mathematics
  2. Secondary School teachers for Physics
  3. Secondary School teachers for English
  4. Secondary School teachers for Biology
  5. Secondary School teachers for Chemistry
  6. Secondary School teachers for History
  7. Secondary School teachers for Geography
  8. Secondary School teachers for Agriculture and Forestry
  9. Secondary School teachers for Accounting and Commerce
  10. Secondary School teachers for Religious study, Christinity and Islamic.

Please, visit the "Career Opportunities" page for details.

Countdown to independence

JUBA, 2 July 2011 - With one week to go before the independence of southern Sudan is declared on July 9th, the Government has revealed the agenda for the landmark celebrations. A host of concerts, sports events and religious prayers are taking place all week, reaching a climax on the day itself in the capital Juba and across the countryʼs ten states. The main planned events will centre around the 8th, 9th and 10th July.


Please, click here to download the full press release.


Celebration programme

JUBA, 2 July 2011 - This Saturday marks a major milestone in the lives of South Sudanese. They will celebrate their independence. Please, click here to download the celebrations programme.


President Kiir urges AU to recognize South Sudan independence

MALABO, 1 July 2011 – His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardiit, President of the Government of Southern Sudan, who returned to Juba after taking part in the 17th African Union Summit held at Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 29-30, 2011, called on African Union countries to recognize and assist post-independence Southern Sudan “to create opportunities for [the youth] and to prepare them to lead Southern Sudan to greater prosperity in the future.” He also called on North Sudan to cooperate with the South in the spirit of seeking a win-win solution to all their disputes.


Emphasizing his country’s “unwavering commitment to democracy, human rights, freedom of thought, belief, and expression, and to good governance”, President Salva Kiir called on the AU and world countries to assist the war-ravaged Southern Sudan as an “investment in the long term stability and prosperity of the region”, as Southern Sudan translates “nature’s blessings” into prosperity “for our people and for all our neighbors and friends in Africa and beyond”.


And regarding the still outstanding disputes with North Sudan, President Kiir emphasized that there is no issue that cannot be resolved, and called on his northern neighbors to cooperate in searching for win-win solutions that make all the linkages between the two countries “work better to the benefit… of both sides”.


The people of Southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence from the North in January this year, is due to declare its independence on July 9th, upon conclusion of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended 21 years of war between north and south Sudan.

President Kiir in Malabo for 17th AU Summit

MALABO, 29 June 2011 - The First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of southern Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the accompanying delegation of three ministers, H.E Deng Alor minister for Regional Cooperation, H.E Oyay Deng Ajak minister for Investment and H.E Dr. Cirino Hiteng minister in the Office of the President arrived in Malabo, the capital of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, on Tuesday June 28th, 2011 afternoon to participate in the 17th Summit of the African Union, which officially opens today Thursday the 30th, June 2011.

Since Tuesday June 28th 2011, Malabo has received a number of the African heads of state. The GoSS minister of Regional Cooperation H.E Deng Alor explained that the 17th Summit of the AU in Malabo will discuss a number of pressing issues in Africa. Among these are problems of the youth and living situations on the African continent.

Besides that, H. E Alor also explained that the President will have the opportunity of holding a series of meetings with the African heads of state to brief them on the preparations and arrangements being made for the forthcoming independence celebrations on 9th July 2011. He reported that a good number of African leaders have responded positively to support the independence of the Republic of South Sudan and are ready to attend the celebrations.


President Kiir meeting the Japanese officials in Malabo.

Meanwhile, President Kiir yesterday held a joint meeting with the Japanese Ambassador for Peace building in Africa and special envoy for UN Reform Mr. Keitaro Sato, and Japanese Extra-ordinary and plenipotentiary permanent Representative to African Union Mr. Hiroyuki Kishino at the Presidential Residence in Malabo.

During the meeting, the President briefed the Japanese officials on the readiness of the people of southern Sudan for the formal declaration of independence on 9th July 2011. President Kiir also commended the Japanese government as one of the major supporters of the government and people of southern Sudan in many developmental activities. On their part, the Japanese officials expressed readiness of their government to continue supporting the economy of the new Republic of South Sudan.

By Thomas Kenneth, from Malabo

African Union to support independence celebrations

JUBA, 30 June 2011 – The head of the African Union Liaison Office in Juba, Ambassador Nakaha Stanislas, yesterday affirmed the support of the organization for the independence celebrations of South Sudan.


The diplomat was speaking in Juba after meeting the undersecretary of Ministry of Peace and CPA Implementation, Madam Beatrice Khamisa Wani, at the ministry’s headquarters in Juba. He emphasized that the independence celebrations are a high season for the people of the South Sudan and pledged the full support of the AU.



During the meeting Madam Khamisa briefed the ambassador on the preparations for the independence celebrations as well as the number of invited guests expected to grace the occasion. She reported that about 1,500 rooms have been booked in Juba to accommodate the guests.


Madam Khamisa also reported that there will be a lot of activities during the celebrations spanning 8, 9 and 10 July 2011. These, she said, include sports and cultural events.

Reported by Lindri Godfrey Alex

Internal Affairs minister assures of security on Independence Day

JUBA, 29 June 2011 - The minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan H.E. Gier Chuang Aluong has assured the country that adequate security measures have been put in place in readiness for the independence celebrations.


“All Southern Sudanese have prepared to celebrate this historic day of our struggle for independence in secure and peaceful atmosphere across all the ten states”, he said. He explained that the Government of Southern Sudan has provided financial support and security personnel to all the ten states to ensure maximum security during the festivities.


“The issue of rampant insecurity in some states of Southern Sudan through militia attacks will not prevent us from celebrating this day as free citizens in a free country; and we want to call on our brothers and sisters to unite to welcome our country in peace and harmony”, said the minister.


He echoed the call of the government to all the citizens who overwhelmingly voted for independence of South Sudan to stand firm and work hand in hand to achieve the ultimate freedom and prosperity of the new sovereign state.


He also explained that the maintenance of security is the responsibility of all the people of the country and urged all peace-loving citizens of the Republic of South Sudan to start planting the seed of peace.


Reported by Ater Garang Ariath

President Kiir attends African Union Summit

JUBA, 28 June 2011 - The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit is attending the African Union summit on accelerating youth empowerment for sustainable development in Africa currently being held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.


The President was escorted to the Juba International Airport by several ministers, among them the minister for Finance, Deng Athorbei; Roads and Transport, Lino Anthony Makana; Telecommunication and Postal Services, Madut Biar; Internal Affairs, Gier Chuang Aluong; Education, Michael Hussein; and the minister in the Office of the President, Cirino Hiteng.

Addressing journalists, the GOSS Official Spokesperson and minister for Information, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the President and his entourage is attending the African Union heads of state summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.


Dr. Marial explained that the meeting is critical given that it is coming on the eve of the South Sudan’s independence. “It will give the President an opportunity to interact with the other African presidents who will become his contemporaries after the 9th July 2011 when South Sudan becomes a sovereign state”, he explained.


He also said that President Kiir will get an opportunity to raise the outstanding CPA issues including the status of the Abyei protocol and the right of popular consultation in South-Kordofan and Blue Nile along with the border demarcation between the South and North.


“The continental heads of state summit is indeed an important event ahead of our independence because it will provide a good opportunity for our President to introduce the Republic of South Sudan to all the African Union members”, Dr. Marial explained.


Reported by Ater Garang Ariath

South Sudan - What comes next?

JUBA, 28 June 2011 - Independence Day, 9th July 2011, will be an inspirational day of events in the South Sudanese capital Juba, involving a Declaration of Independence, flag-raising ceremony and parade. The events will be attended by community, religious and government leaders from all around the country, 30 heads of state from Africa and other international dignitaries.


H.E. Dr. Marial shows the media one of the publications bearing the coat of arms of the new Republic of South Sudan.
[Photo: Matata Safi]


Thousands of South Sudanese citizens and international friends will bear witness to the day, alongside local and international media. Round the country, there will be locally-planned celebrations in many villages and counties. These will include ceremonies, music, dancing and other cultural festivities, to herald the birth of the new nation.


Please, click here for more information on next steps for the new country.


SSLA passes six sovereignty bills

JUBA, 28 June 2011 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today passed six sovereignty bills during its Ordinary Sitting No: 24/2011 dated Tuesday 28th June 2011 10: 00 AM held at the assembly’s main hall in Juba.

The bills were presented to the August House by H.E John Luk Jok, the minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Government of Southern Sudan. The bills were: the National Flag Bill (2011), the Nationality Bill (2011), the National Anthem Bill (2011), the National Coat of Arms Bill (2011), the Seal of the Republic Bill (2011 and the Passport and Immigration Bill (2011).

The honourable members then deliberated and discussed the six bills. After the long deliberations, observations and discussions, the August House came up with two motions which were put to voting. The first was to terminate the debate and pass the bills in their third reading. The other was to pass four bills and postpone two bills including the Passport and Immigration Bill (2011) for further deliberations and discussions.

After a long debate the six bills were tabled for voting. 81 members supported the termination of the debate, adoption and passing of the six bills in their third reading. The motion was opposed by 22 members while 6 abstained.

The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Gen. James Wani Igga. The sitting was attended by 101 honourable members.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

Independence committee newsletter

JUBA, 28 June 2011 - Please, click here to read the second issue of the "South Sudan Independence", a newsletter published by the South Sudan Independence Celebrations’ Committee for Information and Mobilization. Kindly, note that the publication is 695KB and may take a couple of minutes to download.


Western Equatoria to produce food for South Sudan

JUBA, 25 June 2011 – Western Equatoria will play a major role in bolstering food security in South Sudan, the minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of South Sudan, Dr. Anne Itto has said.

The minister made these remarks when she addressed the media at the Juba International Airport shortly after returning from a two-day tour of the state. She emphasized that the government is transforming the sector from traditional to mechanized farming. She announced that this transformation is part of the priorities the government has set for 2012.

“We want to improve agricultural production from two thousand metric tonnes of maize to six hundred million metric tonnes and for this policy to be achieved we will target the states with conducive climatic conditions”, she explained.


Dr. Anne Itto.


The minister also reported that while she was in Western Equatoria, she met and consulted with various development agencies such as Farm Sudan, Food Crisis Project financed by the World Bank, farmers’ groups and grain millers. Several non-governmental organizations engaged in the sector in Western Equatoria assured the minister that the state has the capacity to produce adequate maize and rice for local subsistence and international trade.


“We will not depend on East African countries and northern Sudan for food imports; we want to establish our own food reserves. This can be achieved through the cooperation of all the stakeholders”, said Dr. Itto. She also emphasized that all the citizens should get involved in this process. She called on the South Sudanese to engage in farming to ensure self-reliance in food production and poverty alleviation.

Dr. Itto cautioned the citizens against destroying forestry resources. She reported that she met the state minister for Agriculture and Forestry and agreed on a mechanism to conserve the forests. She called on all the people to participate in this process.

The minister noted that the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the state hampers agricultural activities and reiterated that the government is doing all it can to root out the dissidents from South Sudanese soil.

Reported by Ater Garang Ariath

Civil society holds demo against human rights violation by Khartoum regime

JUBA, 25 June 2011 - South Sudanese civil society organizations and human rights activists yesterday held a peaceful demonstration in Juba to protest human rights violations committed by the Khartoum regime against the innocent civilians in Abyei area, Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Southern Kordofan states.


Members of the civil society hold demonstration in Juba.
[Photo: Khamis Matata Safi]

The civil society and human rights activists demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the affected areas without any conditions. They also demanded that SAF should stop bombing and killing innocent civilians in Southern Kordofan, Pariang County in Unity State, and Kiir area in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

They also urged the Khartoum government to bring the hostilities in Western Sudan region of Darfur to an end.

“We urge the government in the North to fully honour all the CPA protocols and the express political will to implement all these protocols. They must also respect all the treaties and human rights conventions signed”, they said.

Reported by Khamis Matata Safi

GOSS receives UN-members’ flags

JUBA, 25 June 2011 - The Ministry of Regional Cooperation in the Government of Southern Sudan last week received fifty two containers carrying one hundred and ninety two flags of the member-countries of the United Nations.


According to the undersecretary in the ministry, Mr. Majok Guandong, the flags received included that of the new Republic of South Sudan. Mr. Guandong said that this gesture signifies that the UN will recognize the new country.


“We in the Government of Southern Sudan, especially in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, are extremely glad to receive the flags of the members of the United Nations as one step to our recognition”, he said.


He also said that all committees organizing the celebrations are working hard to ensure that the Independence Day is celebrated happily. He commended the South Sudanese private company run by Mr. John Duku which had been contracted to bring all the flags from China to Southern Sudan.


“The arrival of the flags on time has boosted our morale and we want to urge all South Sudanese to prepare themselves for the historic day”, he added.


The undersecretary also said that the South Sudan’s flag will be its new identity alongside its amazing national anthem that was launched last week at Nyakuron Cultural Centre. “We should be proud of our flag when it is raised”, Mr. Guandong said.


Reported by Ater Garang Ariath

Education minister meets “Save the Children” top official

JUBA, 25 June 2011 - The minister for Education in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Michael Milli Hussein yesterday met the director for development policy of “Save the Children UK”, Mr. Patrick Watt in Juba.

Addressing the press after the meeting, Mr. Watt said that they discussed some of the educational challenges facing South Sudan. He also added that they discussed the role of education in enhancing the economic power of the new country.

Mr. Watt also said that during the meeting they discussed teachers’ recruitment, salaries and other incentives for teachers. He also reported that they discussed the review of the curriculum as well as the role of the international community in revamping the education sector.

He said that his organization is working with stakeholders and communities in Southern Sudan to ensure that every child enjoys all the rights due to them.

Reported by Gisma Shaban and Lindri Godfrey

Preparations for independence celebrations gather momentum

JUBA, 18 June 2011 –The preparations for the celebration of independence of South Sudan have gathered momentum.

Today, the army and other organized forces staged a rehearsal parade in Juba in preparation for the festivities. The marching began at the Buluk Police playground and ended at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum. Members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which is bound to become the South Sudan Army as well as the Police, Wildlife, Prison, Fire Brigade, Women, Youth as well as scouts of South Sudan, participated in the parade.


Part of the parade.

The march was also attended by the chairperson of the parade committee, H.E. Dr. Michael Milli Hussein, who is also the GOSS minister for Education, as well as his Office of the President counterpart, H.E. Dr. Cirino Hitend Ofuho.

In a related event, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak, the Director General of Information in the GOSS Ministry of Information who is also the chairperson of the Information and Mobilization committee led the members of the committee in inspecting arrangements for the international, regional and local media expected to cover the independence celebrations.

South Sudan will host several dignitaries during the independence celebrations scheduled for 9 July 2011. Several committees and sub-committees are coordinating various preparation activities for the event.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

SSLA Speaker urges the people to stand behind President Kiir

JUBA, 18 June 2011 - The speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) who is also the deputy chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Rt. Hon. James Wani Igga has called on all South Sudanese to rally behind President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Government of South Sudan.


He made the call this week at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba while addressing the participants at a function to commemorate the African Child Day.


This call comes at a time when the South Sudan is preparing to celebrate its independence.


Hon. Wani stated that the government has been lobbying for recognition from all countries. He said emissaries of the government visited many countries including the European Union (EU) and that all the countries expressed their readiness to recognize the country and even attend the celebrations in July.


The speaker also denied the allegation that an attack by the SPLA sparked off the current quagmire in Abyei. “The SPLA did not start bombing Abyei, it was a lie. The North wanted to mislead the international community”, he asserted adding that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) had deployed their troops three weeks before the attack.

Reported by Ater Garang Ariath