The Sudan School Certificate (SSC) examinations have witnessed for the first time in the last 15 years students siting for the SSC
even in some IDPs camps there were examination centers, this included the Darfur states as well as the Blue Nile, White Nile and South Kordofan. This is a very strong indicator for the return of security and stability in these areas.
In this context, we should start to prepare for the enrolment of the successful students from these areas in the institutions of higher education. The concept of Positive Discrimination should be adapted in the case of these students to the maximum. These students come from families whose economic conditions are very law due to years of displacement and the very negative impact of the conflict on their household’s livelihood and so needs a lot of support.
First, the Students Support Fund should start preparation from now and not tomorrow to formulate the support programs for these students. And it will be preferable if a tack force if formed jointly between the Fund and the concerned ministries and institutions in these states. The adequate handling of the after the SSC exams and results can have a very positive impact on these marginalized and conflict torn communities and same time solidify the ongoing process of peace building and the normalization of livelihood. This is both an opportunity and a challenge that we have to win for the sake of national security and unity and sustainable development. This file should be treated as an important outstanding one and not just a ceremonial one that ends with the last day of the examination.
Sudan, Sudan has a longstanding tradition of hospitality towards refugees and asylum seekers, and is currently hosting refugees from the Central African Republic (cAr), chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As of September 2017, nearly 1 million asylum seekers and refugees are being hosted across Sudan. Voluntary return is not an option for the vast majority of these people due to the situation in their countries of origin, and resettlement remains limited only to specific cases.
A large number of refugees and asylum seekers are unregistered, including Syrian and Yemeni people who are not obligated to register as refugees upon arrival in Sudan. With this unregistered population in mind, the Commission for Refugees (COR) estimates that there are approximately 2 million refugees and asylum seekers living in Sudan. These words are not quoted from any official Sudan government records but from the report published recently in March by OCHA (United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs) in Sudan. OCHA have called on the international community to provide $ 1 billion to meet the humanitarian needs in Sudan in 2018. But it is doubtful on the base of past experience that the response will exceed 50 or 60 percent of the needs. Despite the drastic negative impact of the refugees on Sudan in all spheres.
Several years ago, I discussed with the UNHCR (United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refuge) Representative in Sudan on why the international Representative in Sudan on why the international community is not compensating Sudan for the huge and catastrophic environmental damage inflected by the presence of a large number of Eritreans and Ethiopian refuges in the UNHCR camps in Eastern Sudan. I didn’t receive satisfactory or convincing answers beside the admittance that Sudan had really suffered from the presence of a large number of refugees. The representative at that time informed but rather in vague words that there are attempts by the UNCHR to solicit some funding to address the environmental damage in the camps areas. On this context we must also not disregard that the our national governments have made a big mistake in not pressing hard on this issue. Now, with the complete new concepts and awareness on the global and regional focus on climate change and environmental degradation and the need for strong adaptation mechanism, there are good opportunities for the case to find a better response. This requires that we present well prepared feasibility studies to the international community accompanied by a strong political and diplomatic pressure and to solicit the aid of all friendly and concerned countries in this endeavor. The government has moved very strongly recently in this file but we must keep and increase the momentum.
SDGs Agenda 2030
Now, more than two years have passed since the United Nations General Assembly member states including Sudan, have adapted the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) for 2016 to 2030. Many countries have adapted there national 2030 Agenda since then but in our case the situation is still unclear regardless of the official statements that refer from time to the SDGs. This long delay in the formulation of the national plans and projects to implement the SDGs after more than two years is totally unacceptable. Because this lead to the loss of the support that the international community links with the SDGs. The core reason for this defect is in the choose of the mandated body, the National Population Council (NPC). We have expressed this point of view when the NPC was mandated to oversee the implementation of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals, 2001-2015). Sudan failure to achieve in a satisfactory manner most of the 8 MDGs is due to a large extent to the failure of the NPC to mainstream the MDGs in all the national development plans and projects. In addition its advocacy tools and programs in this respect was inadequate, ineffective and weak which led to another failure that is the mobilizations of the civil society and the general public resources.
So, as we have called before, we call once again for this mandate to be transferred to the Ministry of International Cooperation as the SDGs are more near to its mandate contrary to that of the NPC. And what is more important is that the SDGs needs a lot of international assistance which the International Cooperation ministry is in a position to obtain more easier than the NPC. This has been quite clear during the implementation of the MDGs and in which the NPC performance was not that good in securing funding for the MDGs implementation. But even if the mandate is transferred to the International Cooperation ministry, this will not be enough for a radical improvement without a fundamental change in the mentalities that deals mostly with the SDGs as foreign funding generating mechanism and not as an important sustainable developmental concept and roadmap.
In the first article in this page we wrote that; there will be a very major step taken in the coming days in the African leader’s summit in the Rwandan capital to adapt the, African Content Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Some 27 heads of state are expected to attend the Kigali meeting; and today the 27 heads of states that are expected to attend the Kigali summit will decide the future of this important agreement in the future economic and social development of the content.
The Objectives of the CFTA is to; Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union, Expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general, Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes and enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) with 55 African Union (AU) members having a cumulative GDP of US$2.5 trillion is one of the African Union's flagship projects.
AU trade and industry commissioner Albert M Muchanga said Africa's fledgling industries and growing middle class would benefit from the CFTA's removal of tariffs. Currently, African countries only do about 16 per cent of their business with each other. "If we remove customs and duties by 2022, the level of intra-African trade will increase by 60 per cent, which is very, very significant," Mr Muchanga said. "Eventually, we are hoping that all the African Union states will be parties to the Continental Free Trade Area," he added.
With underdeveloped service and industrial sectors across the continent, African countries have for decades seen their fortunes rise and fall with the prices of exported commodities such as oil, cocoa and gold.
Landry Signe, a development expert with Stanford University in the United States, said the agreement could help local industries, while giving African countries a unified platform to negotiate trade deals with wealthier nations.
"With the CFTA, the manufacturing sector would be much more diversified, as the market would not be a few million people, but potentially 1.2 billion people," he said.
It should be noted that in the past, Sudan have not utilized fully the potentialities of its membership in the of the African regional markets. The new policy directives towards more opens to Africa points to that Sudan will join the (CFTA) and if so this should be a driving force towards increasing our exports to the African markets. But this will require some quick steps taken to improve our infrastructure to facilitate such activities. Always we must take into consideration that Sudanese products have more chances to compete in the African markets than in any other markets and so there must be a strong focus on these markets.