Helping Sudan: A Constructive Challenge
I apologize for crowding the blog with my postings, but I believe that all interested persons should do what they can to try to make positive suggestions and contributions to the sharing of information that may be used by the decision makers in the SPLM and the NCP during the upcoming months moving towards the Referendum. I do not want to be accused of complaining that “something needs to be done” without offering possible courses of actions.
I would like to make a suggestion to those individuals who have some ability to offer assistance to South and North Sudan with regard to infrastructure development.
It is my understanding that Juba University is in the process of relocating from Khartoum to Juba; and it is possibly the case that the University could use some assistance in developing programs within its various colleges. One of the eleven colleges within the University is the College of Natural Resources & Environmental Studies. However, I was unable to find within that college a Department of Petroleum Geology or Petroleum Engineering, such as they have at the Sudan University of Science and Technology.
Given the fact that Southern Sudan has oil deposits, it might be a productive enterprise for oil producing nations in the West and elsewhere to encourage their oil companies [state owned or private] to contribute to the establishment of an academic department [or academic departments] that could produce engineers and technicians who could manage the production of oil in Southern Sudan. Ideally, the students receiving this training would be from Southern Sudan, but there should be no barrier to students from Northern Sudan attending such an academic institution.
America and other countries with oil producing corporations have been anxious to have an opportunity to have access to the oil in Sudan, and this way they can participate in developing an educational infrastructure, that could lay the groundwork for a lasting relationship that could benefit the people of Southern Sudan and Sudan as a whole. This would overturn the paradigm of using local individuals only for manual and unskilled labor, and it would also develop a local pool of technical expertise that could manage the oil resources in a responsible and ecologically friendly manner.
Foreign corporations stand to realize profits from oil beneath South Sudan that will be measured in millions [if not billions] of dollars. It seems only decent that those corporations contribute to the wellbeing of those people under whose land the oil is found. And it is appropriate that those corporations contribute to a sustainable economy for those people as well.
It was mentioned earlier that any Department of Petroleum Engineering at Juba University should be open to students from the North, and it should be said that it would be expected that education institutions in the North should also provide access to students from the South. And while some may argue that it is a duplication to have institutions of learning teach the same disciplines in both the North and the South; such duplication can create healthy competition and help to establish some degree of educational parity between the North and the South. No one ever complains about the duplication of academic disciplines between Oxford and Cambridge in the UK or Yale and Harvard in the US.
The United States Government and large oil companies from around the world can lead the way by establishing an advisory body that could work with the GOSS [and the GOS in certain instances – possibly many instances] to design and develop and establish such a Department of Petroleum Engineering at Juba University. And I would like to challenge President Obama, the United States Government and those corporations to do this. This is the type of assistance that President Obama could have offered when he spoke to the UN on September 24th.
Having the GOS as a participant in such a collaborative effort could be one instance of developing shared infrastructure as proposed by Wolfram Lacher and it would offer one avenue for the North and South to come together over the issue of oil production in an effort to move forward, as proposed by Luke Patey.
I would be remiss if I did not also suggest that in addition to oil, North Sudan and South Sudan have great potential for the development of solar power and wind power as alternative energy sources. Northern Sudan has some very favorable wind patterns for the development of wind power [see map: http://www.solar4power.com/map9-global-solar-power.html ] ; and both North and South Sudan are very suitable for the development of solar power [see map: http://www.solar4power.com/map9-global-solar-power.html ]
In addition to training technicians for oil resource development and management, countries and corporations could contribute to the development of courses of study to train technicians in solar and wind power resource development and management. One way in which oil companies [which are after all, “Energy Companies”] can help this world that they have scarred is to help with the development of technologies and the training of technicians who can help with some of the healing. And I would like to challenge President Obama, the United States Government and those corporations to do this as well.
There are many other shared resources found in both the North and South, the attention to which can be the basis for cooperation and mutual enterprise and this post merely explores oil and wind and solar power. But there should be a call to action made to all who would be friends to the people of Sudan [both North and South, and in Unity] to come forward and offer their ideas and resources to try to help solve some of the problems so often pointed out.