On the two year anniversary of the start of South Sudan's brutal conflict, some limited progress has been made on implementing the peace agreement signed in August. But unless the war economy is dismantled and potential spoilers effectively countered, South Sudan will remain on the brink of a full-scale return to civil war. Read our latest report on the policy tools and interventions available to U.S. and international policymakers to counter the elite interests that pose the most significant threat to peace in South Sudan. Read More »
Tenuous Peace Deal at Risk as Youngest Nation Marks 2-Year Anniversary of Conflict Outbreak
Today, on the two-year anniversary of the start of South Sudan’s civil war, a new report by the Enough Project exposes the political and financial interests that continue to pose the most significant threat to peace. DEADLY ENTERPRISE: Dismantling South Sudan's War Economy and Countering Potential Spoilers, argues that networks of political and business elites have profited from the war must be effectively targeted and dismantled in order to save South Sudan’s imperiled peace deal.
“Deadly Enterprise,” by Enough Project policy analyst Justine Fleischner, suggests a number of policy tools and interventions to strengthen financial pressure and support accountability, and transparency efforts key to ending impunity for economic crimes.
Justine Fleischner, report author and Enough Project Policy Analyst based in East Africa, said: “The losses for South Sudan’s people have been too devastating to simply allow a return to the governing status quo. If South Sudan’s leaders fail to undertake the necessary political and economic reforms laid out in the peace agreement, it is hard to imagine how there will ever be real stability. South Sudan’s leaders owe it to their own citizens to finally deliver on the promises made at independence.”
The war, sparked in December 2013, has cost countless lives, displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes, and has been characterized by widespread human rights atrocities documented by the independent African Union Commission of Inquiry. The peace agreement provides a starting point for bringing the parties back together in Juba, but so long as hardliner interests remain intact, the country risks a return to full-scale civil war.
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “How does anyone think the status quo of corruption and conflict will change in South Sudan without creating real consequences and breaking the cycle of impunity? The international community must deploy whatever tools it has at its disposal to ensure stolen assets are returned and economic crimes prosecuted. Regional and global asset freezes and travel bans should target those individuals that pursue their own political or economic gain at the expense of the South Sudanese people.”
Report recommendations include global asset recovery efforts, investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice-led Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, steps to ensure space for civil society to hold their own leaders to account, and tools to combat black market currency trading and potential money-laundering activity.
The in-depth report is based on extensive research and interviews conducted between July and November 2015in Juba, Bentiu, and Malakal, South Sudan; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Nairobi, Kenya. Interviewees included government and opposition officials, government and rebel commanders, low-level fighters on both sides, civilians displaced by the conflict, civil society leaders, academics, economists, geologists, U.N. officials, and international experts on specific sectors of the war economy.
Selected report revelations:
Officials with access to the hard currency brought in as oil revenue are in some cases able to leverage the difference between the official and black market exchange rates to turn huge profits on the dollar. At the time of publication, the official exchange rate was 2.9 SSP to the U.S. dollar and the black market rate was 17 to 18 SSP to the dollar, giving a 586 to 620 percent return on the dollar.
Without a transparent system in place for managing oil revenues and a single oil account, it is difficult to track the money that comes in as oil revenue. In addition, those officials with access to the hard currency brought in as oil revenue are in some cases able to leverage the difference between the official and black market exchange rates to turn huge profits on the dollar. At the time of publication, the official exchange rate was 2.9 SSP to the U.S. dollar and the black market rate was 17 to 18 SSP to the dollar, giving a 586 to 620 percent return on the dollar.
Some sources have estimated that the government currently receives around $60 million a month in oil revenues, although the actual total oil income is unknown... Opaque financial arrangements between the oil companies and traders and the government of South Sudan further obscure the use and transfer of oil funds.
Selected report recommendations:
Potential spoilers, including politically and financially exposed individuals at the highest level, should be the primary target of asset investigations and financial audits to curtail the damage they are able to inflict on the implementation of the peace agreement.
Opaque business deals and financial transactions should be scrutinized and carefully investigated. These include transactions involving well-known war profiteers with long-standing ties to the opposition and government leadership. The U.S. should also investigate deals involving firms, accounts, and individuals based in the United States. All business transactions, concessions, and bidding processes must meet the minimum requirements laid out in South Sudan’s own laws. Ensuring war profiteers do not cash in on the destruction and loss of life they helped sustain should be a primary concern of JMEC, the United States, and donors during the transitional period.
Levying and implementing sanctions that effectively target the South Sudanese actors who most threaten peace and security requires attention to sanctions enforcement at the regional level. To prevent potential South Sudanese spoilers from seeking state sponsors in the region, the United States and other international partners must maintain diplomatic pressure on regional states, including Kenya, where significant South Sudanese assets are held.
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org
“Deadly Enterprise” is the third in a series of in-depth, field research-driven reports on the dynamics of profit and power fueling war in the Horn, East and Central Africa. Violent kleptocracies dominate the political landscape of this region, leading to protracted conflicts marked by the commission of mass atrocities by state and non-state actors. Enough's Political Economy of African Wars series will focus on the key players in these conflicts, their motivations, how they benefit from the evolving war economies, and what policies might be most effective in changing the calculations of those orchestrating the violence–including both incentives and pressures for peace.
Testimony of John Prendergast, Enough Project Founding Director, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearing on “Independent South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership,” given on December 10, 2015.
On December 2, 2015, the Enough Project published an Enough Forum piece, “Kleptocracy in Khartoum: Self-Enrichment by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party,” written by Eric Reeves. This piece analyses the mechanisms that the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) uses to maintain power and secure wealth, including manipulating the oil market, illicit land sales and expropriations, systemic bureaucratic corruption, financial mismanagement, and state-sponsored violence.https://www.transparency.org/cpi2014/resultsRead More »
Enough Forum report describes “brutal kleptocracy”: land grabs, grand corruption, military plunder
A new report published today details how the governing regime in Sudan is structured to extract the nation’s wealth in order to maintain power, benefit elites, and sustain violent and repressive campaigns against its citizenry. Published by the Enough Project in its “Forum” series, “Kleptocracy in Khartoum: Self-Enrichment by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party,” is authored by Professor Eric Reeves of Smith College, a Senior Fellow at the Enough Project.
Eric Reeves, report author and Senior Fellow at the Enough Project, said: “For the past five years, the current regime in Khartoum has continued to engage in massive theft of Sudanese national wealth. Such theft occurs against a backdrop of some of the world’s highest rates of malnutrition as well as a series of brutal and costly civil wars. Agriculture is in decline as is the economy as a whole, largely because of the brutal kleptocracy that rules and plunders Sudan by force of arms from Khartoum.”
Selected highlights from “Kleptocracy in Khartoum”:
The primary means by which the regime in Khartoum presently enriches itself is the sale and leasing of valuable Sudanese land—both urban areas as well as large tracts of arable land—mortgaging Sudan’s future to Arab and Asian countries interested in their own long term food security and cheap, profitable real estate deals.
The regime’s complete control of the federal bureaucracy, the Central Bank of Sudan, and the Central Bureau of Statistics ensures that very large amounts of money can be easily siphoned off without detection and economic danger signals muffled.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) currently provides no meaningful oversight of the collapsing Sudanese economy, accepting at face value untenable figures provided to the Fund by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Waging war against the marginalized citizens of Sudan’s vast peripheral areas, and deploying a ruthlessly efficient set of security services, is all that keeps the regime in power.
The character of the wars enabled by the massive misallocation of national wealth has often been genocidal, as it continues to be in Darfur, in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, and in Blue Nile State. Ethnically-targeted human destruction is the norm rather than the exception in the government’s conduct of counter-insurgencies.
Presented by the Enough Project, the Enough Forum is a platform for dynamic discourse engaging critical issues, challenges, and questions among thought leaders, field researchers, and policy experts. Opinions and statements are those of the authors and participants in the forum, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy recommendations of the Enough Project.
For media inquiries and to arrange an interview with the report author, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.
On October 22, 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) released a joint statement on the impending famine in South Sudan stating, “At least 30,000 people are living in extreme conditions and are facing starvation and death.” Read More »
Presented by the Enough Project, the Enough Forum is a platform for dynamic discourse engaging critical issues, challenges, and questions among thought leaders, field researchers, and policy experts. Opinions and statements herein are those of the authors and participants in the forum, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy recommendations of the Enough Project.
South Sudan’s Minister of Justice Paulino Wanawilla recently acknowledged the existence of corrupt officials in the Ministry of Justice, as well as throughout the government. This is a significant statement highlighting the pervasive nature of corruption in South Sudan. In a recent article, the Sudan Tribune quotes the Minister as saying, ““I know in South Sudan corruption is not in one place, but it’s very sad when everybody is stealing.” Read More »