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South Sudan war costing billions, economists warn

14 January 2015, 18:07

Nairobi - War in South Sudan will cost up to $28 billion to the country if it continues for five more years, with regional nations risking even more, economists warned Wednesday.

"If the conflict continues for another one to five years, it will cost South Sudan between $22.3 billion and $28 billion depending on its severity," the joint report read, claiming that should the war be stopped, it would save the international community $30 billion in peacekeeping and aid.

The report was produced by Europe-based Frontier Economics, Uganda's Center for Conflict Resolution, and South Sudan's Centre for Peace and Development Studies at Juba University.

At the regional level, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda could save $53 billion in the coming years should the war end in 2015, the report added.

Salim Ahmed Salim, a former Tanzanian prime minister, introduced the report by saying he hoped it would "focus the minds of political leaders on the stakes" of failing to end a war in which tens of thousands have already been slaughtered.

Fighting broke out in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

Since then oil production -- once around 300,000 barrels a day at independence -- has been slashed by at least a third to 160,000. Trade with landlocked South Sudan has been cut and almost half a million refugees are in neighbouring nations.

East Africa's IGAD-bloc, which has mediated a string of failed ceasefire deals, should follow through on its repeated threats of sanctions should war continue, the report added.

South Sudan has been riven by war for decades -- including conflict from 1956-1972 and again from 1983-2005, before breaking away from northern Sudan in 2011.

War broke out again in December 2013, and the report provided grim estimates of what the economists believe could be the cost should conflict continue.

"The price of failing to bring about lasting peace in South Sudan could be $158 billion over the next two decades," it added.

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