Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 07/07/2011

Southern Sudan prepares to declare its formal independence Saturday [PHOTOS]


A traditionally dressed man dances during a rehearsal of the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, July 7, 2011. (Goran Tomasevic - Reuters)
Southern Sudan will formally declare its independence from the north on Saturday, creating Africa’s newest nation six years after a peace deal was reached to end a north-south civil war and five months after southerners voted for secession.

But great challenges remain for the new nation. Southern Sudan is likely to struggle with border and trade issues, violence within its borders, lack of infrastructure, and division of oil revenues. More than 2,360 people have been killed in violence in the south so far this year, according to the United Nations. A mass influx of roughly 360,000 people have entered the south since October to participate in the birth of the new nation. And when the south declares its independence, it will become one of Africa’s most oil-rich countries; its oil revenue last year accounted for nearly 98 percent of the southern budget.

Despite the challenges, Southern Sudan is now in the midst of lavish preparations to celebrate its declaration of independence from the north on Saturday. See photos of the preparation after the jump:


Children prepare for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, Southern Sudan, July 6. (Thomas Mukoya - Reuters)


Members of the Agar Lmarol group from Lake state in Rumbek perform a traditional celebration dance during preparations for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, Southern Sudan, July 6. (Thomas Mukoya - Reuters)


Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldiers hold rifles during a rehearsal of the Independence Day ceremony in Juba on July 7. (Goran Tomasevic - Reuters)


A monkey runs before the beginning of a rehearsal of the Independence Day ceremony in Juba on July 7. (Goran Tomasevic - Reuters)


Southern Sudanese military helicopters fly over an independence rehearsal procession in Juba on July 7. (Pete Muller - AP)


Women prepare for an evening of business charging mobile phones in the main Konyo market in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba on July 6. Konyo is the main trading center in the Juba, and the city is buzzing with activity as the Southern Sudanese government prepares to declare independence from North Sudan on July 9. (Pete Muller - AP)


A picture released by the United Nations Mission in Sudan shows traditional dancers performing during a rally organized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Juba on July 5, four days before Southern Sudan officially declares independence from the north. (Paul Banks - AFP/Getty Images)


Southern Sudanese watch an independence rehearsal procession in Juba on July 7. (Pete Muller - AP)


Young Sudanese girls in traditional dress participate in a march organized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Juba on July 5, four days before Southern Sudan officially declares independence from the north. (Phil Moore - AFP/GettyImages)


Traditionally dressed men walk during a rehearsal of the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, July 5. (Goran Tomasevic - Reuters)

By  |  11:23 AM ET, 07/07/2011

 
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