I came across this really interesting story two days ago: plans by the autonomous region of Southern Sudan to build multi-billion dollar cities in the shapes of animals. The detailed blueprints show outlined drawings of a rhinoceros and a giraffe, with plans for structures inside their “bodies.”
The plan’s budget is just over $10 billion, even though Southern Sudan is one of the poorest regions on earth and has a budget of just $2 billion for 2010. Many believe the region should spend its expected influx of oil money to quickly improve living conditions for the poor. Here’s an excerpt from the Al Jazeera story :
“It doesn’t seem like the government of Southern Sudan should be using its resources or staff time when the people of Southern Sudan lack basic services like health care and water,” Nora Petty, an aid worker with the Malaria Consortium in Juba, said.
Of course, some believe the opposite. This, from CNN.com:
“Others think the idea could help put an aspiring new nation on the map.
“If it happened, everybody would come to see the country. It would mean we are developed,” says Ochira Bosco, 27, who works in a Juba restaurant.””
Plans place the regional capital, Juba, inside the two-horned rhino blueprint.
Still, Nora Petty’s opinion is popular, especially when inspecting the region’s infrastructure stats. Again, from the Al Jazeera story:
“To connect all major towns in southern Sudan we need 13,000km of roads … we need five to six billion dollars to tarmac about 80 per cent of that.”
Right now, Southern Sudan has about 60 km of roads and health care services are rarely readily available for the country’s populace.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as the referendum on Southern Sudan’s independence should take place in early January 2011.