01 Jul 2016
by Clement Sefa-Nyarko
Republished from Taylor Francis Online
This paper argues that it is simplistic to attribute the recent civil war in South Sudan to the presence and exploration of crude oil in that country. It links the civil war in South Sudan to the systematic marginalization of the African populations of the Greater Sudan that was initiated by the Southern Policy of the British colonial government in the 1920s; and the inability of the new government of South Sudan to address grievances among its citizens. The uncoordinated abrogation of the Southern Policy, the failure of the colonial and post-colonial governments of Greater Sudan to prioritize development of the South, and the unwillingness of successive governments to unconditionally integrate the South into the Sudan polity led to the initiation of a secession agenda that was eventually realized through a referendum in 2011. This north-south tension overshadowed pertinent grievances among southerners that were never addressed by the new government of South Sudan, feeding on political disagreements two years after independence. Using geographical proximity and resource lootability theories, this paper shows that the resource-curse theories only explain part of the problem.