This Saturday, the map of Africa will be redrawn as South Sudan becomes an independent nation amid war tensions. Sudanese President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, is expected to attend the ceremony. He has promised to accept the oil-rich south’s secession, after initially fighting the loss of the Texas-size region that had provided much of his government’s revenue.
United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Susan Rice, is scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation at the independence ceremony taking place in Juba, the new capital. She described the independence period as “a fraught and fragile moment, but a remarkable one nonetheless.”
North and South Sudan are still divided over key issues that were supposed to be resolved by now under the peace accord. They include how to fully demarcate the border, divide oil revenues and determine which side will control the disputed region of Abyei.
As the ceremony nears, Juba is fast thriving capital city. The town square once served mainly as a transportation terminus, now there are businesses run by people from neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and China. In addition, The United Nations and other international agencies have set up offices in the new capital.