Sudanese supporters of secession wave regional flags and pro-separation placards upon the arrival of Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir at Juba airport on January 4, 2010. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Southern Sudanese rally on the streets of the southern capital, Juba, on Dec. 9, marking the one-month countdown until a landmark independence referendum is due. The vote could see Sudan's autonomous and mostly Christian south break away from the predominantly Arab and Muslim north. Peter Martell/Getty Images hide caption

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A man sends money through the mobile phone service M-PESA in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in 2007. M-PESA is having a clear economic impact, including boosting consumer spending in the countryside. Tony Karumba/Getty Images hide caption

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Robert Bonifas (left) and Don Parrish on the road in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The pair are members of a travel website where people compete to see the world. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

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At a staging area 20 miles south of Khartoum, a man carries his suitcase as he makes his way to a bus headed to Southern Sudan. A referendum in January could grant the south independence from Khartoum, but Southern Sudan is ill-equipped to provide for the tens of thousands of people are heading south ahead of the vote and promise of self-rule. Abd Raouf/AP hide caption

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People stand in line at Juba University for hours to register to vote next month on independence for Southern Sudan. Here, a poll worker helps a prospective voter put a thumb print on his registration card. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

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A U.N. peacekeeper stands guard in Abyei last month. The Sudanese town on the faultline between north and south is slowly recovering from violence two years ago and is bracing for more bloodshed as a referendum looms on independence for Southern Sudan. Guillaume Lavalee/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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