Oil is Perceived as Blessing
In a present context of South Sudan, is Oil a blessing or a curse? It can be disputed that the impact of oil on South Sudan’s economy is questionable. Moreover, it can either be a blessing or a curse. But for the case of South Sudan, the oil is blessing because it helps in generating revenue which has been used for strengthening economy and developmental purpose. Though, at moment, this cannot be unlocked for debates or discussions—it might unknot many ropes.
Primarily, the discovery of Oil in South Sudan came through an interference from former U.S President, George H. Bush who notified the government of Sudan to satellite imaging maps that indicated the presence of oil in South Sudan. The former Sudan President, Jaffer Nimeiri who was then close ally to U.S sign deal with President George H. Bush. And in exchange of interests, President Jaffer Nimeiri authorized President George H. Bush to recommend American company (Chevron) to secure the grant in exploring the existence of oil in the South.
When Chevron Oil Company (now known as Chevron Corporation) was granted its oil concessions in 1974 by then Sudan government in the South autonomy, the objective was discovering the oil, displace the population, annex the land, and then expand the government control to the Southern territories. Devoting almost 4 years’ preparations and exploring through satellite imaging the presence of Oil in the autonomous region, with all efforts, Chevronmanaged to discover oil in 1978 in Unity and later discover another Oil in Heglig (Arabic name to denote Arab control) but originally known as Yaak in Nuer and Panthou in Dinka, correspondingly. Before mass displacements, this place was populated by Nuer and Dinka, it had unique name(s) in their local language(s). Southern Kordofan’s Baggara as cattle nomad come seasonally for water and grazing for their cattle.
In 1978, Sudan government issued a standing order for relocation of Oil refinery to Port Sudan, but South Sudanese protested, condemned the move, and demanded the refinery to be stationed in Mombasa, Kenya. All their calls went unheard. Following the resistance and protests from Southerners, Chevron and government decided to incorporate an agreement to normalize the tension, which they referred as “Package of Development Projects”. The packages worth of one million Sudanese Pounds (1 million SDGs) includes improvements and construction of roads, health, educational service and drinking water in Bentiu, Western Upper Nile (now known as Unity State). Other States in Sudan got their developmental allocations but nor the government neither the Chevron lived up their agreement on the development’s projects allocated for Bentiu. Until then, in 1992 when Chevron was closed.
Oil Twisting to Be a Curse
Oil is devil’s excrement. It brings trouble, waste, wars, and corruptions—thus could amount to curse. Bringing the reflections home, over 40 years of oil production in South Sudan and particularly Unity State, yet no developmental progress. Nor the oil companies neither the government wanted to pledge developmental projects in the oil producing States—all demands trashed. Oil spills have negative impacts on the residents of the affected areas. With lots of deformed children at birth, death of animals and others living thing occupying the areas.
Oil could be a curse because we are not taking advantage of it. Use the oil income for development and strengthening of economy. Instead of spending it on wars and others unbeneficial spending.
Hijacking Use of Fuel: Innovations and Technology
If South Sudan is not going to make a decent use of Oil very soon, the fast innovations and technology in the modern world will hijack the use of fuel. German is busy 24/7 generating solar powers, exported, and installed for power system—reducing the use of fuel generators. Startups from the Netherlands to California are developing cars capable of harnessing energy from the sun and swiftly drive on the road. Therefore, in the next 50 to 100 years, the use of fuel shall reduce.
Take advantage now, develop, build-up strong economy and enterprises. Make South Sudan a better place to be.