Edward Thomas, the author of “South Sudan: A Slow Liberation”, points out that the causes of the violence in South Sudan are not mainly ethnic but economic. The book describes the environment which hosts the Sudanese conflicts and it focuses on the absence of a central state able to organize its productive capacities. For instance, the resource obtained through the extraction of oil after 2005 should have made the South Sudanese government one of the richest in the region—yet it remains a violent and unstable country.
The state couldn’t really foster ‘development’ in a conventional sense because (as the author says) the state “couldn’t intervene meaningfully in the economic life of most people. Instead of finding economic groups and interests to invest in—small businessmen, or factory workers—the government doles out small amounts of money in wages. And because there aren’t clear economic interest groups, this government like every single government before it, organizes its relationship with the population around ethnicity”.
Edward Thomas has lived and worked as a teacher, researcher and human rights worker for Sudanese and international organizations in Sudan and South Sudan for over eight years.
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