The world’s newest nation, South Sudan, has adopted English as its official language.

South Sudan was created after a referendum earlier this year, splitting off from the mainly Arabic speaking Sudan. Leaders hope that choosing English will make South Sudan a modern country and see it as a “tool for development”.

“With English,” the news director of South Sudan Radio, Rehan Abdelnebi, told me haltingly, “we can become one nation. We can iron out our tribal differences and communicate with the rest of the world.” (Source: BBC News)

There are issues, however. Around 150 different languages are spoken in the country, with most people having grown up speaking a form of Arabic. Few people speak English, and a large proportion of the population are illiterate.

Let’s hope that South Sudan can become a successful and peaceful country, with or without English.