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South Sudan sanctions will prove largely symbolic

Monday, November 4, 2019

Subject

Impact and outlook for sanctions in South Sudan.

Significance

As concerns grow that a new transitional government of national unity envisaged under the September 2018 peace agreement may not be formed on time on November 12, sanctions are again an open topic of debate. Already, on October 11, the US Treasury sanctioned two businessmen for their involvement in bribery, kickbacks and procurement fraud with government officials, and US officials have warned of new sanctions against any who derail the peace agreement.

Impacts

  • The presence of major Asian companies provides the oil sector with some measure of protection from Western sanctions.
  • Reputational and financial risk may nevertheless prompt some international oil traders to reduce their dealings with South Sudan.
  • High levels of domestic poverty and humanitarian need will deter a more sweeping economic sanctions regime.
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