The authorities in southern Sudan
have unveiled a $10 billion plan to rebuild the region’s cities in the shapes
of animals and fruit.
Elaborate blueprints for the new
cities have already been drawn up.
The regional capital, Juba, will be
relocated and designed in the shape of a rhinoceros. Wau, the capital of
Western Bahr el-Ghazal state, is to be a somewhat unwieldy giraffe.
Southern Sudanese are due to vote
in a referendum on independence next year.
In Juba, the office of the regional
president is situated where the rhinoceros’s eye should be.
In Wau, the sewage treatment plant
is appropriately placed under the giraffe’s tail.
There is talk that the town of
Yambio will be shaped like a pineapple.
The reason for these shapes is not
entirely illogical – they match the symbols that appear on the flags of
southern Sudan’s states.
But how will the authorities raise
the $10 billion they say they need to make this plan a reality? They say they
are talking to investors but it is all a bit vague.
Although there is plenty of oil in
southern Sudan, people there are extremely poor.
The United Nations says more than
90 per cent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.
The plans for the new cities perhaps
reflect the heady optimism of a potential new independent South Sudan, but
whether they will ever get beyond the drawing board is another matter.