“The council of ministers has decided that the capital city will be relocated from Juba,” the government’s secretary general Abdon Agaw told AFP, adding the new capital would be located in Ramciel, in Lakes state.
The decision, taken on Friday, has to be approved by the parliament of South Sudan, which gained its independence July 9, and is unlikely to result in any imminent change as the new capital would have to be built from scratch.
But the move has been mulled for months and the country’s information minister, quoted by local media, has said the relocation process would be completed within about six years.
Agaw said authorities in Central Equatoria, of which Juba is the state capital, had refused to provide the land required by the government for the city’s expansion.
Ramciel is an area which lies between the three main regions of the world’s newest nation: Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr al-Ghazal.
The existing capital, in the far south, was left in ruins by the decades of conflict between Khartoum and southern rebels when it served as a government garrison town.
But despite the lack of basic infrastructure, including reliable power, water and sewage systems, it has thrived in recent years, witnessing a rapid construction boom.
Juba has drawn entrepreneurs from around the world as well as a small army of international aid agency and UN workers.