REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN–On Saturday, the Republic of South Sudan became the 55th African nation. As part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005, brokered by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the southern Sudanese population voted overwhelmingly in January in a popular referendum to separate into a new country.

Saturday achieved that objective. On the surface, this development seems anti-Pan African, but, in fact, the effort was greatly assisted by both the African Union and the United Nations. The new country, which does not include Darfur, now has to finish building a sufficient infrastructure and an effectively operating governmental system for the three dominant ethnic groups–the Dinka, Shilluk and the Juba–but also the smaller kinship groups. South Sudan is endowed with vast natural resources such as oil deposits, gold, uranium, tin, copper and fertile soils. The current president is Salva Kiir Mayardit, the gentleman who wears cowboy hats and boots.