The country code “211″ has just been assigned to the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, according to an announcement by South Sudan’s current Minister for Telecommunications and Postal Services, H.E. Madut Biar Yel.
The code “211″, is issued by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). It was chosen for its resemblance to this year (2011), the year of independence for South Sudan. In his headquarters today, the Minister expressed his gratitude for the Union’s swift issuance of the code. The code is to become active within 48 hours of the official recognition of the Republic of South Sudan– a vote that will take place in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Along with a country code for international communications, South Sudan needs stamps and currency. The release of their first issue stamps has already occurred, with the distribution of 100,000 stamps to all the states of the Republic. The release was announced by the Director General for Administration and Finance in the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Brigadier General Elijah Biar Kuol. According to his statements, the focus for distributing stamps will be not on the capital city of Juba, but rather on rural areas of the nation. Over 80% or citizens in South Sudan live in rural settings.
The pictures of the new stamps are shown here. The first stamp has a denomination of 1 South Sudan Pound (1 SSP) and displays a South Sudanese flag in vivid color. The second stamp, worth 2.5 SSP features the seal of the nation. The last stamp of value 3.5 South Sudanese Pounds shows and image of President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Finally, on the issue of currency, South Sudan will release its South Sudan Pound on Monday, July 18th. The announcement came yesterday from the acting head of the Central Bank of South Sudan, Elijah Malok. There are various factors associated with the release. For instance, the Exchange rate will be set at 1:1 ratio with the Sudan Pound (SDG) — the currency from which the country is switching. Market forces are expected to change the value of the newly released currency however, and this value change may be dramatic.
Although he has begun work on establishing all aspects of South Sudan’s currency systems, Mr. Malok is still not technically appointed as the head of the Central Bank of South Sudan. The South Sudan Legislative Assembly has not yet voted on the final version of the Bill that establishes authority for the Central Bank of South Sudan. Mr. Malok however, continues to operate under powers assigned to him as a Governor.
A public awareness campaign has been set in motion and exchange centers will be established across the country for citizens to trade their old Sudan Pounds to South Sudan Pounds.
Agreements between the Central Bank of Sudan and the Central Bank of South Sudan have not yet been struck on the redemption value of the SDG currency that South Sudan is currently holding. These reserves have been valued in the 1 to 2 billion dollar range.
As far as international participation in the SSP currency is concerned , exchange rates with other countries have not yet been determined. Malok did announce that a float system, where currency values fluctuate in relation to each other, as opposed to a fixed exchange rate, would be employed. Inflation levels in nearby Uganda and Kenya, and South Sudan’s desire to establish a favorable trade environment are expected to have a significant impact on these decisions. These announcements are expected as soon as a week from today, and the currency value would be determined by market forces after that.
For citizens hoping to continue to use their old currency, there is hope, as there are no plans to ban the SDG from being used within the South Sudanese borders. Depending of how Sudan reacts to the new currency, there is a hope that this flexibility will promote trade with Sudan.
Pictures of the new currency are shown here. There are 6 notes announced so far, with denominations of 1 to 100 SSP. Still in the minting process are coins which will have lower denominations.
Despite the difficulties and tough choices ahead, the South Sudan currency is set for quick adoption and a smooth launch. Minister for Information in the Government of South Sudan, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has already stated salaries for all civil servants in the new nation will be paid in SSPs.