South Sudan Violence Obscures ICT Progress

South Sudan is the world’s newest nation, created after a violent struggle, and one that now appears primed for more violence. Once again, the baser instincts of us human beings may trump our nobler nature.

More than 2 milliion people died in South Sudan’s fight for independence, an astonishing number. Imagine half a million people murdered in New York Ciry or London and you get the idea of the scale of this slaughter.

Yet the area is far from hopeless when it comes to ICT. We have not yet been able to break out specific figures for South Sudan, but we were able to include Sudan in our research with relevant figures before the nation broke into its present two pieces.

Our research encompasses 102 nations, and strives to determine relative progress with ICT infrastructure. We integrate several socio-economic and technology measures into our unique algorithms. Our approach gives developing nations of the world a chance to be compared on a “pound-for-pound” basis with developed nations, and can uncover diamonds in the rough in developing regions.

Sudan and South Sudan may be among those diamonds in the rough. Although Sudan finihsed 95th out of the 102 nations we survey with the information we were able to use, it showed a lot more promise when we focused more heavily on technology measures and less on socio-economic measures.

In fact, Sudan cracked our Global Top 20 in terms of potential, mostly due to having broader Internet access than expected – higher than better-known emerging starts Ghana and Senegal, for example.

We understand the danger of minimizing the socio-economic factors. After all, if a nation is simply too dangerous to visit, let alone consider as a place to invest, why even mention it?

Our approach has a heavy measure of caveat emptor – we assume that serious people have a good grasp of the risks involved in traveling to and doing businesss in any nation – and we don’t try to predict short-term economic performance. We do believe that over the long term, those countries with the most dynamic relative ICT infrastructures will be successful, as will those who invest in them.

Sudan and South Sudan have a combined population of about 48 million people, and sit in proximity to emerging East Africa, to Egypt, and to the Gulf states. If only political leaders there could lift their heads, stop focusing on the perceived enemies at hand, and take a longer view, they could truly improve the lives of their people. Our research says this, I say this, and I can hope for the day when it’s safe for me to visit Joba and environs.

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