Nation-building and the New Deal engagement in South Sudan

by Louise Dyrholm

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Nation-builing; New Deal; South Sudan; State-building
Record ID: 1121169
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/18448


This study revolves around a research on, to what extend the constitutional, political and social processes of nation-building could be seen as the missing link, in South Sudan’s ‘New Deal’ process, initiated early after the country’s independence in 2011. ‘The New Deal’ was a breakthrough agreement between fragile states and partners, to change the policy and practice of engagement. Focussing on state-building and aid-effectiveness. South Sudan launched the New Deal in August 2012, and was one of the pilot countries, with partner countries being Denmark, Netherlands and the U.K. After the outbreak of violence in South Sudan in December 2013, the process of the New Deal collapsed. The current crisis has been a continuum of the violent processes of state consolidation and the failure of an elite compact to consolidate its control over the state, failing to respond to the dominance of a small elite class over the politics of the state. Despite that fact, that the current conflict does not have its roots in ethnicity - tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and exclusion on ethnicity, age, or gender bases are often seen as the main causes for state-fragility in South Sudan. Thereby a major conclusion in this study is that a sense of national unity and collective national identity could help prevent future conflict. Furthermore, its concluded that ethnic diversities is a major driver for conflict in South Sudan at the moment, and that a state building project, without reference to nation-building, would be unlikely to have a successful outcome. By that conclusion, it is not being stated that nation-building were the missing link, in the failed New Deal process initiated in 2011, as many factors have had a role to play in that failure. However, the conclusion is, that a future similar project will be sure to fail as well, if not placing a greater emphasis on nation-building, and hereby the important involvement of the youth, civil society and local actors.