Six years after a peace agreement ended decades of war the Republic of South Sudan has been officially born.
On Saturday, thousands gathered to watch South Sudan take its independence - splitting from the north and dividing what was Africa's largest state.
African leaders and officials from around the world attended the ceremony which marked the creation of the world's newest state.
The independence follows a referendum in January this year when 98 per cent of South Sudanese voted in favour of statehood and separation from the north.
The referendum in turn followed a peace deal that ended a bitter and lengthy civil war between the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army and the Khartoum government, a government that was the first to officially recognise the new state.
But South Sudan remains chronically underdeveloped. And as the excitment of independence dies down, the reality remains that this newly formed nation has been plunged into a new era of uncertainty.
Inside Story, with presenter Mike Hanna, discusses the challenges lying ahead for Africa's newest nation.
Joining the show are Richard Dowden, the director of the Royal Africa Society; Jackie Wilson, a senior programme officer in the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP); and Egbert Wesselink, the director of the European coalition on oil in Sudan.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Saturday, July 9, 2011.
Source: Al Jazeera