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Thursday, July 7, 2011

World's newest capital city: Juba, South Sudan, a ramshackle refuge!

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Southern Sudanese men walk on a dirt road in the South's capital Juba - AFP
Southern Sudanese men walk on a dirt road in the South's capital Juba - AFP.

The world’s newest capital is a war-damaged city of tin-shack housing and bumpy roads, strung out along the steamy banks of the White Nile river.
"Juba might not look like Washington or London - or even Khartoum, Kampala or Nairobi," said William Deng, a building material trader, referring to South Sudan’s regional neighbours.
"But it’s the capital of our new nation, and I’m proud of that," added Deng, whose shop is in the narrow dirt streets of the city’s Konyo-Konyo market, a key commercial centre.
South Sudan’s capital Juba was left in ruins by decades of conflict, violence that drove its people to vote overwhelming to separate from the north, with formal independence to be declared on Saturday.
"We’re a baby state starting from nothing, but we’ll build it up," Deng said, waving at the bustling street crammed with traders.
Entrepreneurs and jobseekers have poured into Juba in recent years, lured by profits from aid and oil dollars, be they southerners who fled during the war coming home, or neighbours from regional nations.
"Business is good and I can make a profit, I can’t make back home," said Ismail Hussein, a vegetable seller from neighbouring Uganda.
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From canvas tents to shipping containers
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