The new nation faces tremendous challenges of its own, along with the difficulties of establishing peaceful diplomacy with the neighboring country it once fought against.
Lisa Grande, the leader of the United Nations' humanitarian efforts in South Sudan, described the new nation “one of the most underdeveloped on the planet” in an interview with the Associated Press.
South Sudan has a literacy rate of 17 percent and suffers from extremely poor physical infrastructure.
“Someone who could be my daughter has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than finishing school,” said Grande. “That says everything you need to know about Southern Sudan.”
Bishop Ricard said the Church recognizes the “enormous problems and challenges Sudan will face,” but also the new republic's potential “to forge a future that will be filled with hope.”
“Independence is not in the poverty, suffering and conflict here, but it gives us an opportunity to address their root causes,” Griffin said.
He stressed that the South Sudanese people are “putting the war behind them and focusing on their future.”
“They can look at more long-term programming and development without the fear of being constantly being moved back to square one because of displacement, violence and bombing,” he noted.
“There's a sense that we have our own wings and we can fly,” Bishop Ricard said. “We can develop and live up to the potential we have as a nation and a people.”
The bright potential of the new republic has been contagious, causing a massive influx in southern refugees returning from the North and bordering countries. Foreigners in the capital city say the streets are filled.
“This is the place for them to be,” Bishop Ricard said. “They can finally return home with some degree of assurance that they can stay home and find a job … prosperity, and a good life.”
(Story continues below)
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