Monday, June 01, 2009

shortsighted Sudan demolition

Thirty thousand people are now homeless in Juba, Sudan, after the government embarked on a brutal demolition drive, Reuters reports.

The larger policy issue here is this: The horrific violence of the Sudanese Civil War came to a halt in 2005, and since then Juba has grown into a thriving market city. This is a good thing. But, in response to what it termed unlicensed and uncontrolled growth, the government "sent in bulldozers and demolition crews to flatten of hundreds of temporary structures, market stalls and shanty town shacks that they said were not properly licensed."

So, after not enforcing the rules for four years, the government destroys the city's spontaneous prosperity and growth. Does that make sense? What about working with these residents and entrepreneurs to improve conditions?

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