By Atem Simon Mabior
Juba, Jul 9 (EFE).- South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 through a referendum that inspired hope for a better life in the resource-rich nation.
A devastating civil war broke out only two years later and capsized expectations, sinking the world’s youngest state into despair and disappointment.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, who has led the nation through its first 10 years, canceled Independence Day celebrations this year over financial difficulties.
Last year, it was also put off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Baba Meda, the deputy minister of information, told Efe that there will not be an official celebration but Kiir is planning to “address citizens through state media,” as a precaution to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Meda says South Sudan “is witnessing an improvement in the security situation due to the implementation of the peace agreement,” reached in 2018 between the Kiir administration and the armed opposition led by Riek Machar, although many clauses of the pact remain unimplemented.
Meda underlines that there are numerous challenges the government and the opposition are trying to solve in South Sudan, where more than 8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations.
Abraham Awoulich, professor of economics at Juba University, says that poverty rates have increased by 31% over the past decade due to several factors, including war.
The UN said that more people are in need of aid now than during the South Sudanese armed conflict.