The government of Southern Sudan this week unveiled urban blueprints to rebuild cities in the shape of animals, raising eyebrows across the globe.
The man behind the plan, Housing and Physical Planning Ministry undersecretary Daniel Wani, says the attention has given his ambitious proposal a boost of new energy.
"The reaction has been very good. We have been getting calls from everywhere," Wani says in the Southern Sudan capital of Juba. "Generally, the feedback we are receiving indicates that we are on a positive track."
The $10.1 billion multi-decade project to re-create Southern Sudan's 10 state capitals into elaborately-shaped dream towns may sound Dubai-esque -- only Southern Sudan is no Dubai.
Actually, it is one of the poorest places on earth.
The undeveloped region -- which lacks any paved roads outside its three main cities -- is part of Africa's largest nation, Sudan, which is ruled by the Khartoum government South Sudanese fought against for most of the past half century in two long civil wars.
But Southern Sudan expects to achieve independence next year through a January secession referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that granted the war-torn region self-rule until the vote.
Even without the unique city designs, the multi-billion dollar price tag alone was sure to turn heads. Southern Sudan's total budget for 2010 is less than $2 billion, 98 percent of which comes from the oil revenues it hopes will fund its postwar re-construction.
I'm not sure what the value is of animal shaped cities since the animals will only be noticeable from the air.