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South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. Since becoming an independent state in 2011, the country has never known peace. According to De Waal (2014), the bad blood between President Salva Kiir and immediate former vice president Riek Machar, both the country’s top two inaugural leaders, has led to a situation of sporadic wars between the military and Machar-led Sudan People Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), a guerilla rebel group. There have also been unending clashes pitting different ethnic groups against each other. Salva’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer ethnic groups have been feuding constantly due to the differences between the two leaders.
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South Sudan has heavily relied on foreign aid coming from other governments and international organizations to handle the negative effects of civil wars that have rocked the country perennially, especially in Darfur and southern parts. The amount of relief aid is significant and varies based on the intensity of civil clashes and the amount of rainfall. These two affect food production directly (De Waal, 2014). The two main manifestations of humanitarian crisis as a result of low rainfall amounts and civil war in South Sudan include acute food shortage and disease.
How War and Peace Affect Foreign Aid in South Sudan
Positive Effects of Peace
Civil war in South Sudan is a continuous affair but sometimes reduces to a level where a significant extent of peace is realized. According to Toh and Kasturi (2012), foreign aid agencies work more effectively when the clashes reduce because then, their access to areas where relief aid is needed is less impeded. Rapid response to humanitarian crises is also possible when there is peace. Peace allows for use of trucks rather than helicopters to the areas that need humanitarian intervention. This reduces the costs of such operations since it is less expensive to deliver relief aid by use of roads than where helicopters have to be used due to lack of safety on the roads. It is also easier to keep track of the number of people that require foreign aid and also to assess the extent to which the humanitarian crisis resulting from lack of food has been resolved.
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Negative Effects of War
Civil war put not only the lives of warring factions in danger, but also those of relief aid workers. It makes it difficult to effectively coordinate operations between the various relief aid command centers in the country. To start with, war leads to increased demand of relief aid since it leads to internal displacement of people from their homes (Paul, Doocy, Tappis, & Evelyn, 2014). The internally displaced persons rely entirely on foreign aid. The bigger the number of displaced persons, the more expensive it becomes to attend to the resultant extent of humanitarian crisis. This requires increased funding of foreign and relief aid operations. The other negative effect of civil wars in Southern Sudan with respect to how foreign aid material is discharged is the fact that the aid on transit is sometimes stolen by bandits, potentially putting the lives of humanitarian personnel transporting them at risk.
The government of South Sudan, headed by President Salva Kiir, receives colossal amounts of foreign aid from developed Western countries, notably the United States and the United Kingdom. The government also secures lending from institutions such the African Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the international monetary fund to carry out development activities and also boost its capacity to handle civil wars by putting in place the necessary security infrastructure (Maxwell, Gordon, Moro, Santschi, & Dau, 2016). Through support from donor nations and financial lending institutions, the government of South Sudan has tried to deploy more military personnel in Darfur and the southern regions which are civil war hotspots. This has helped reduce the extent of resulting deaths and displacements of people.
Whether or Not Extension of Foreign Aid Has Reduced Poverty in Warfare Incidents
As a country that traditionally relied on foreign aid almost entirely in its formative years, the social, economic and political progress it has made over the years can be easily attributed to foreign aid. South Sudan is an oil-rich nation, but lack of peace for an extended period of time made it difficult to realize its potential in the socio-economic spheres. Thanks to foreign aid, the country had managed to continually boost her capacity to develop its economy and security apparatus (Manson, 2014). Global poverty indices have shown a steady improvement in the poverty situation in South Sudan. The instances of civil war in the traditional hotspots have also reduced drastically due to the country’s increased capacity to generate internal solutions, though sometimes military support is enlisted from neighboring, relatively more peaceful countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
- De Waal, A. (2014). When kleptocracy becomes insolvent: Brute causes of the civil war in South Sudan. African Affairs, 113(452), 347-369.
- Manson, K. (2014). South Sudanese rebel leader appeals for international support. Financial Times, 13.
- Maxwell, D., Gordon, R., Moro, L., Santschi, M., & Dau, P. (2016). Trajectories of International Engagement with State and Local Actors: Evidence from South Sudan.
- Paul, A., Doocy, S., Tappis, H., & Evelyn, S. F. (2014). Preventing malnutrition in post-conflict, food insecure settings: A case study from South Sudan. PLoS Currents, 6.
- Toh, K., & Kasturi, P. (2012). Foreign aid in post-conflict countries: The case of South Sudan. Journal of Third World Studies, 29(2), 201.