Divorce is never an easy process, particularly where financial matters are concerned.
When divorce involves one of Africa’s largest countries and 6.7 billion barrels of oil, following 20 years of war, it is not surprising neither side is adapting well to a new life.
Protests are rocking Sudan, from the wealthy district of Khartoum Two, to neighbouring Omdurman and El Obeid in the central Kordofan province. Triggered by discontent over rising food and fuel prices, demonstrators challenge president Omar Al Bashir’s 23-year rule. But South Sudan, which celebrates the first anniversary of its separation on July 9, has not fared any better.
The pattern of protests in Sudan is similar to several other Arab countries. It has its roots in years of oppression and misrule and long, unpopular wars not only in the south but also Darfur in the west, Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains on the new border with South Sudan.
With the separation, Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil production, bringing an abrupt end to a decade’s economic boom that started with oil exports in 1999. The first response was to attempt extortion: Khartoum demanded a transit fee of US$32 per barrel for oil sent through the only two pipelines from landlocked