South Sudan

South Sudan

South Sudan is a country in eastern Africa. It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya, Uganda, and DRC to the south, and Central African Republic to the west.

Background History

Egypt attempted to colonize the region of southern Sudan by establishing the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. Islamic Mahdist revolutionaries overran the region in 1885, but in 1898 a British force was able to overthrow the Mahdist regime. An Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was established the following year with Equatoria being the southernmost of its eight provinces. The isolated region was largely left to itself over the following decades, but Christian missionaries converted much of the population and facilitated the spread of English. When Sudan gained its independence in 1956, it was with the understanding that the southerners would be able to participate fully in the political system. When the Arab Khartoum government reneged on its promises, a mutiny began that led to two prolonged periods of conflict (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) in which perhaps 2.5 million people died - mostly civilians - due to starvation and drought. Ongoing peace talks finally resulted in a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January 2005. As part of this agreement the south was granted a six-year period of autonomy to be followed by a referendum on final status. The result of this referendum, held in January 2011, was a vote of 98% in favor of secession. Independence was attained on 9 July 2011.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of South Sudan
  • conventional short form: South Sudan


  • name: Juba
  • population: 250,000
  • geographic coordinates: 04 51 N 31 37 E
  • time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 9 July 2011 (from Sudan)

Government Type:

  • Republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011)
  • head of government: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011)
  • cabinet: National Council of Ministers; appointed by the president and approved by a resolution from the Legislative Assembly
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a four year term; election last held on 11-15 April 2010 (next to be held in 2015)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: bicameral National Legislature consists of the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, High Courts, County Courts

People & Society


  • 10,625,176 (global rank: 80)
  • growth rate: 3.1% (global rank: 24)


  • noun: South Sudanese
  • adjective: South Sudanese

Major Cities:

  • Juba (capital): 250,000 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi


  • animist, Christian


  • English (official), Arabic (includes Juba and Sudanese variants) (official), regional languages include Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande, Shilluk

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 71.83 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 19)


  • adult prevalence rate: 3.1% (2009 est.) (global rank: 24)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 27%
  • male: 40%
  • female: 16%


Overview: Industry and infrastructure in landlocked South Sudan are severely underdeveloped and poverty is widespread, following several decades of civil war with the north. Subsistence agriculture provides a living for the vast majority of the population. Property rights are tentative and price signals are missing because markets are not well organized. South Sudan has little infrastructure - just 60 km of paved roads. Electricity is produced mostly by costly diesel generators and running water is scarce. The government spends large sums of money to maintain a large army; delays in paying salaries have resulted in riots by unruly soldiers. Ethnic conflicts have resulted in a large number of civilian deaths and displacement. South Sudan depends largely on imports of goods, services, and capital from the north. Despite these disadvantages, South Sudan does have abundant natural resources. South Sudan produces nearly three-fourths of the former Sudan's total oil output of nearly a half million barrels per day. The government of South Sudan derives nearly 98% of its budget revenues from oil. Oil is exported through two pipelines that run to refineries and shipping facilities at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and the 2005 oil sharing agreement with Khartoum called for a 50-50 sharing of oil revenues between the two entities. That deal expired on 9 July, however, when South Sudan became an independent country. The economy of South Sudan undoubtedly will remain linked to Sudan for some time, given the long lead time and great expense required to build another pipeline. South Sudan also holds one of the richest agricultural areas in Africa in the White Nile valley, which has fertile soils and abundant water supplies. Currently the region supports 10-20 million head of cattle. South Sudan also contains large wildlife herds, which could be exploited in the future to attract eco-tourists. And the White Nile has sufficient flow to generate large quantities of hydroelectricity. South Sudan does not have large external debt or structural trade deficits. South Sudan has received more than $4 billion in foreign aid since 2005, largely from the UK, US, Norway, and Netherlands, but Khartoum has imposed blockades on goods and capital going to South Sudan. The World Bank plans to support investment in infrastructure, agriculture, and power generation. The Government of South Sudan set a target for economic growth of 6% for 2011, and expects 7.2% growth in 2012. Inflation stood at 8.6% in April 2011, with high fuel prices pushing up food prices. After independence, South Sudan's central bank plans to issue a new currency, the South Sudanese Pound, allowing a short grace period for turning in the old currency. Long term problems include alleviating poverty, maintaining macroeconomic stability, improving tax collection and financial management, focusing resources on speeding growth, and improving the business environment.



  • East-Central Africa; south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, west of Ethiopia


  • total: 644,329 sq km (global rank: 42)
  • comparative: slightly smaller than Texas


  • hot with seasonal rainfall influenced by the annual shift of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone; rainfall is heaviest in the upland areas of the south and diminishes to the north

Natural Resources:

  • hydropower, fertile agricultural land, gold, diamonds, petroleum, hardwoods, limestone, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan; periodic violent skirmishes with South Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic; the boundary that separates Kenya and South Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times
  • refugees (country of origin): 21,000 (most from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia)
  • internally displaced peoples: 80,000

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012