Facts & Figures
Official name: Republic of South Sudan
Land area: 248,777 sq mi (644,329 sq km)
Total area: 248,777 sq mi (644,329 sq km)
President: Salva Kiir Mayardit (Since 2011)
Capital: Juba, 0.53 million (2018)
Currency: South Sudanese pound
Population: 10,204,581 (July 2018 est.)
Population Change: Growth rate: -1.16%; 36.9 births/1,000 population, 19.3 deaths/1,000 population, 10.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population; infant mortality rate: 90.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life Expectancy: 57 years
Nationality/Demonym: South Sudanese
Languages: English (official), Arabic (includes Juba and Sudanese variants), regional languages include Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande, Shilluk
Ethnicity/race: Dinka 35.8%, Nuer 15.6%, Shilluk, Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi, Baka, Fertit (2011 est.)
Religions: Animist and Christian
Literacy rate: 27% (2009 est.)
South Sudan is located in East-Central Africa; south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, west of Ethiopia. Plains in the north and center rise to southern highlands along the border with Uganda and Kenya; the White Nile, flowing north out of the uplands of Central Africa, is the major geographic feature of the country; The Sudd (a name derived from floating vegetation that hinders navigation) is a large swampy area of more than 100,000 sq km fed by the waters of the White Nile that dominates the center of the country
South Sudan shares borders with six neighboring countries. In order of shared border length, these are: Sudan (2,158 km), Ethiopia (1,299 km), Central African Republic (1,055 km), Democratic Republic of the Congo (714 km), Uganda (475 km), and Kenya (317 km).
Since independence on 9 July 2011, South Sudan has struggled with good governance and nation building and has attempted to control opposition forces operating in its territory. Economic conditions have deteriorated since January 2012 when the government decided to shut down oil production following bilateral disagreements with Sudan. In December 2013, conflict between government and opposition forces killed tens of thousands and led to a dire humanitarian crisis with millions of South Sudanese displaced and food insecure. The warring parties signed a peace agreement in August 2015 that created a transitional government of national unity in April 2016. However, in July 2016, fighting broke out in Juba between the two principal signatories, plunging the country back into conflict.
International Disputes: South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, final alignment pending negotiations and demarcationfinal sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudanperiodic violent skirmishes with South Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republicthe boundary that separates Kenya and South Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times
Human Trafficking: South Sudan is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; South Sudanese women and girls, particularly those who are internally displaced, orphaned, refugees, or from rural areas, are vulnerable to forced labor and sexual exploitation, often in urban centers; children may be victims of forced labor in construction, market vending, shoe shining, car washing, rock breaking, brick making, delivery cart pulling, and begging; girls are also forced into marriages and subsequently subjected to sexual slavery or domestic servitude; women and girls migrate willingly from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Sudan with the promise of legitimate jobs and are forced into the sex trade; inter-ethnic abductions and abductions by criminal groups continue, with abductees subsequently forced into domestic servitude, herding, or sex trafficking; in 2014, the recruitment and use of child soldiers increased significantly within government security forces and was also prevalent among opposition forces
Tier Rating: Tier 3 – South Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; despite the government’s formal recommitment to an action plan to eliminate the recruitment and use of child soldiers by 2016, the practice expanded during 2014, and the government did not hold any officers criminally responsible; government officials reportedly are complicit in trafficking offenses but these activities continue to go uninvestigated; authorities reportedly identified five trafficking victims but did not transfer them to care facilities; law enforcement continued to arrest and imprison individuals for prostitution, including trafficking victims; no known steps were taken to address the exploitation of South Sudanese nationals working abroad or foreign workers in South Sudan (2015)
Refugees: 277,183 (Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers), 15,683 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2018)
IDPs: 1.76 million (alleged coup attempt and ethnic conflict beginning in December 2013; information is lacking on those displaced in earlier years by: fighting in Abyei between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in May 2011; clashes between the SPLA and dissident militia groups in South Sudan; inter-ethnic conflicts over resources and cattle; attacks from the Lord's Resistance Army; floods and drought) (2018)
Industry and infrastructure in landlocked South Sudan are severely underdeveloped and poverty is widespread, following several decades of civil war with Sudan. Continued fighting within the new nation is disrupting what remains of the economy. The vast majority of the population is dependent on subsistence agriculture and humanitarian assistance. Property rights are insecure and price signals are weak, because markets are not well-organized. Nevertheless, South Sudan does have abundant natural resources. South Sudan holds one of the richest agricultural areas in Africa, with fertile soils and abundant water supplies. Currently the region supports 10-20 million head of cattle. At independence in 2011, South Sudan produced nearly three-fourths of former Sudan's total oil output of nearly a half million barrels per day.
GDP/PPP: $20 billion (2017 est.)
Growth Rate: -5.2% (2017 est.)
Inflation: 187.9% (2017 est.)
Government Revenues: 8.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public Debt: 62.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Unemployment: 18.5% (2017 est.)
Population Below the Poverty Line: 66% (2015 est.)
Total Exports: $1.1 billion (2016 est.)
Total Imports: $3.8 billion (2016 est.)
Agricultural Products: Sorghum, maize, rice, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, mangoes, papayas, bananas, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, cotton, sesame seeds, cassava (manioc, tapioca), beans, peanuts; cattle, sheep
Natural Resources: Hydropower, fertile agricultural land, gold, diamonds, petroleum, hardwoods, limestone, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver
Land Use: Agricultural land: 100%
Fixed Lines: 0 (2017 est.)
Cell Phones: 1,511,529, 12 per 100 residents, (2017 est.)
International Country Code: 211
Internet Country Code: .ss
Internet Users: 108,772,470, 76.4% (2016 est.)
A single TV channel is controlled by the government; several private FM stations are operational, mostly sponsored by outside aid donors; some foreign radio broadcasts are available (2016).
Total Airports: 85 (2013)
With Paved Runways: 3
With Unpaved Runways: 82
Registered Air Carriers: 0
Registered Aircraft: 0
Annual Passengers: 0
Total: 248 km
Note: A narrow gauge, single-track railroad between Babonosa (Sudan) and Wau, the only existing rail system, was repaired in 2010 with $250 million in UN funds, but is not currently operational
Total: 7,000 km
Note: Most of the road network is unpaved and much of it is in disrepair; a 192-km paved road between the capital, Juba, and Nimule on the Ugandan border was constructed with USAID funds in 2012.
The South Splits
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.
Historic Vote in Southern Sudan
In a historic seven-day secessionist referendum that began in southern Sudan on January 9, 2011, 98.8% of voters chose independence from the north. The referendum was a provision of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended a 22-year civil war that killed 2.5 million people and displaced 4 million. President Bashir accepted the results and said he would not seek reelection when his term expires in 2015.
The Bush administration negotiated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which in addition to setting the date of the referendum also called for people in the contested region of Abyei to participate in the vote. That vote, however, has been delayed because a decision on what constitutes a resident of Abyei has not been reached. Tribal leaders in the region have made it clear that their loyalty lies with the south, but there has not been a date set for a vote in Abyei. Any declaration of affiliation with the south by Abyei could trigger an attack from the north. Abyei sits between northern and southern Sudan and has historically served as a bridge between the two. Since voting began in southern Sudan, at least 23 people have died in Abyei, confirming speculation that the region continues to be a matter of contention.
On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence and became Africa's 54th state. Thousands celebrated in the streets of South Sudan's capital, Juba. Salva Kiir, South Sudan's president, signed the interim constitution. However, even as South Sudan celebrated its independence, Abyei's uncertainty was only one obstacle that awaits the fledgling state. South Sudan becomes one of the poorest countries in the world with half of the population living on less than $1 per day and an adult literacy rate of less than 25%. South Sudan also needs to establish a new government and constitution.