Oil Crisis – South Sudan

The article If Nigeria is so Rich, Why are Nigerians so Poor? Gives a clear description of Nigeria’s paradoxical economy. While the national income statistics of Nigeria are skyrocketing due to oil profits, this is scarcely affecting most of the population. In fact, the amount of people in Nigeria living on only $1 per day grew by 20 percent. This means that all the oil wealth is living in the hands of only a handful of Nigerians, many of them billionaires. The new oil success has also caused many agricultural industries to fail, and the Obasanjo Administration was forced to reduce Nigeria’s line of poverty.

An article published on Aljazeera reflects a similar economic change to oil in South Sudan. In 2014, the oil price crashed tremendously, ruining the country’s economy because “income from oil accounts for 98 percent of the country’s budget”.1 However, they plan to revive the oil industry, in hopes to bring in more wealth. South Sudan is extracting 20,000 barrels of oil per day.1 However, based on the history in If Nigeria is so Rich, Why are Nigerians so Poor?, there might be some shortcomings with the idea.

Will the majority of residents of South Sudan still be doomed to poverty even after the oil revival? How should countries help lift their wealth for whole populations instead of only for a few people?

If history repeats itself, the wealth coming from oil revenue might only go to a few lucky upper class residents. South Sudan might still experience mass poverty, even if the national income rises. Even if the revival is successful, it might ruin some of the country’s other businesses and put more people in poverty, weakening the credibility of South Sudan’s substantive democracy. South Sudan is technically considered a democracy, however, it’s characteristics reveal it to be more authoritarian. For example, there has only been one election since 2010, and the next one has been postponed twice. A harsh division between rich and poor might encourage more conflict within both countries, potentially sending them back into reform.

 

1Fidelis Mbah, “South Sudan: Oil revival to boost economic recovery” Aljazeera (August 28, 2018)

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/south-sudan-oil-revival-boost-economic-recovery-180828071729069.html

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