Last week the Republic of South Sudan launched its new currency, this week it’s the turn of Sudan to do the same kickstarting what some are calling a “currency war” between the civil war enemies turned neighbours.
Pagan Amum, a senior official in the southern government, said the move to launch a new northern currency so soon after the south’s independence was against agreements and threatened “economic war” between Juba and Khartoum.
Amum said the south was now left with worthless banknotes valued at around $700 million, money that is much-needed in South Sudan, the world’s most poverty-struck nation.
“This is a hostile act,” Amum said.
In Khartoum the deputy central bank governor moved to defuse tensions. “We will undertake all precautionary measures to protect the Sudanese economy, and I hope that we will reach an satisfactory agreement for both sides regarding the pound circulating in the south," said Badr al-Din Mahmoud.
The new South Sudan pound has a portrait of a southern liberation leader while the new Sudan pound has a map of the north of the country on it.
Amum was further angered by Khartoum’s levying of a $23 per barrel fee on southern oil pumped through northern pipelines, equivalent to one fifth of the value of the oil.
Amum called the charge “daylight robbery”.