South Sudan launches currency as tensions simmer

South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9.

As their nation was born, thousands of South Sudanese danced in the streets, waving their new flag and celebrating the beginning of a new era.

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation after seceding from Sudan under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war, but the two sides have yet to agree on how to manage the oil industry, split national debt and other issues.

The new nation’s announcement last week that it would launch its own currency earlier than expected added urgency to a dispute over what to do with the 1.5 to two-billion Sudanese pounds in circulation in the South.

“It is out, we have launched. The president came this morning and changed some money. It is in operation now,” South Sudan’s Central Bank Governor Elijah Malok told Reuters, adding the currency was already being used on Juba’s streets.

South Sudan’s new currency is being exchanged at a one-to-one rate with the existing Sudanese pound. Malok has estimated it would take between one to three months to replace the pounds in circulation now.

The move was complicated by Sudan’s announcement that it would also launch a new currency, which the country’s central bank governor described as a “precautionary measure” to protect Sudan’s economy .

Sudan is trying to deal with high inflation and the loss of about three quarters of the united country’s roughly 500 000 barrels per day of oil output after the south seceded. It is eager to fend off any more economic disruption.

Negotiations are currently stuck on whether Sudan should buy back the Sudanese pounds circulating in the South. Sudan says the notes will be worthless.

“We do not want to buy it. We want them to surrender it to us because it is valueless,” Sudan’s Central Bank Governor Mohamed Kheir al-Zubeir told reporters on Saturday.

South Sudan’s Malok said the new country had not decided what to do with the old currency if Sudan refused to accept it.

“If they don’t take it, we don’t know what we will do with it,” he said. “We will still try to come to an arrangement [with Sudan].” – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


The recovered remain cautious

People who have survived Covid-19 are not going through life carefree. They are still taking all the preventative measures

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday