Juba, a port city on the White Nile, is the capital of South Sudan and one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Juba's population is estimated to be roughly 350,000 to 400,000. The city has doubled in size since 2005, when a peace agreement ended the civil war in Sudan. Both hopeful immigrants and returning residents have created the population surge. The city was a central point for humanitarian aid, and the operations base for the UN and NGOs during the Sudanese conflicts. During the fighting, city infrastructure and main transportation arteries suffered heavy damage. The city is still surrounded by army camps and squatter settlements (labeled "informal built-up areas" in the image). They appear as muted gray areas extending outward from the center of the city. The city also hosts the Juba Game Reserve, a protected area of savannah and woodlands that is home to key bird species. Since independence, a variety of countries and international organizations have helped rebuild Juba's roads, railroads, and airport. Unfortunately, South Sudan continues to experience local wars with a variety of armed groups, including on-going conflicts with Sudan over oil-rich territories. Image courtesy of NASA.
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South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, is the world’s newest country. Home to a diverse array of mainly Nilotic ethnolinguistic groups that settled in the territory in the 15th through 19th centuries, South Sudanese society is heavily dependent on seasonal fluctuations in precipitation and seasonal migration. The land comprising modern-day South Sudan was conquered first by Egypt and later ruled jointly by Egyptian-British colonial administrators in the late 19th century. Christian missionaries propagated the spread of English and Christianity, rather than Arabic and Islam, leading to significant cultural differences between the northern and southern parts of Sudan. When Sudan gained its independence in 1956, the Southern region received assurances that it would participate fully in the political system. However, the Arab government in Khartoum reneged on its promises, prompting two periods of civil war (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) in which as many as 2.5 million people died - mostly civilians - due largely to starvation and drought. The Second Sudanese civil war was one of the deadliest since WWII and left Southern Sudanese society devastated by humanitarian crises and economic deterioration. Peace talks resulted in a US-backed Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January 2005, which granted the South a six-year period of autonomy 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.

Since independence, South Sudan has struggled to form a viable governing system and has been plagued by widespread corruption, political conflict, and communal violence. In December 2013, conflict erupted between forces loyal to President Salva KIIR, a Dinka, and forces loyal to Vice President Riek MACHAR, a Nuer. The conflict quickly spread throughout the country and unfolded along ethnic lines, killing tens of thousands and creating a dire humanitarian crisis, with millions of South Sudanese displaced and food insecure. KIIR and MACHAR signed a peace agreement in August 2015 that created a Transitional Government of National Unity in April 2016. However, in July 2016, renewed fighting broke out in Juba between KIIR and MACHAR’s forces, plunging the country back into conflict and drawing in additional armed opposition groups, including those in the southern Equatoria region that had largely stayed out of the first round of civil war. A "revitalized" peace agreement was signed in September 2018, which mostly ended the fighting. The government and most armed opposition groups agreed that they would form a unified national army, create a transitional government by May 2019, and prepare for elections in December 2022. Subsequent extensions pushed elections to late 2023, and the transitional government was formed in February 2020, when MACHAR returned to Juba as first vice president. Since 2020, implementation of the peace agreement has been stalled as the parties wrangle over power-sharing arrangements, contributing to an uptick in communal violence and the country’s worst food security crisis since independence, with 7 of 11 million South Sudanese citizens in need of humanitarian assistance.

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

Geographic coordinates

8 00 N, 30 00 E


total: 644,329 sq km

land: NA

water: NA

country comparison to the world: 44

Area - comparative

more than four times the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Texas

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 6,018 km

border countries (6): Central African Republic 1,055 km; Democratic Republic of the Congo 714 km; Ethiopia 1,299 km; Kenya 317 km; Sudan 2,158 km; Uganda 475 km

note: 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


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


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


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


highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m

lowest point: White Nile 381 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 45% (2018)

arable land: 4.4% (2018)

permanent pasture: 40.7% (2018)

forest: 11.3% (2018)

other: 43.5% (2018)

Irrigated land

1,000 sq km (2012)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Nile (shared with Rwanda [s], Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Population distribution

clusters found in urban areas, particularly in the western interior and around the White Nile as shown in this population distribution map

Geography - note

landlocked; The Sudd is a vast swamp in the north central region of South Sudan, formed by the White Nile, its size is variable but can reach some 15% of the country's total area during the rainy season; it is one of the world's largest wetlands

People and Society


noun: South Sudanese (singular and plural)

adjective: South Sudanese

Ethnic groups

Dinka (Jieng) approximately 35-40%, Nuer (Naath) approximately 15%, Shilluk (Chollo), Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi, Baka, Fertit (2011 est.)

note: Figures are estimations due to population changes during South Sudan's civil war and the lack of updated demographic studies


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

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

Arabic audio sample:


Christian 60.5%, folk religion 32.9%, Muslim 6.2%, other <1%, unaffiliated <1% (2020 est.)

Demographic profile

South Sudan, independent from Sudan since July 2011 after decades of civil war, is one of the world’s poorest countries and ranks among the lowest in many socioeconomic categories. Problems are exacerbated by ongoing tensions with Sudan over oil revenues and land borders, fighting between government forces and rebel groups, and inter-communal violence. Most of the population lives off of farming, while smaller numbers rely on animal husbandry; abput 80% of the populace lives in rural areas. The maternal mortality rate is among the world’s highest for a variety of reasons, including a shortage of health care workers, facilities, and supplies; poor roads and a lack of transport; and cultural beliefs that prevent women from seeking obstetric care. Most women marry and start having children early, giving birth at home with the assistance of traditional birth attendants, who are unable to handle complications.

Educational attainment is extremely poor due to the lack of schools, qualified teachers, and materials. Only one-third of the population is literate (the rate is even lower among women), and half live below the poverty line. Teachers and students are also struggling with the switch from Arabic to English as the language of instruction. Many adults missed out on schooling because of warfare and displacement.

More than 2 million South Sudanese have sought refuge in neighboring countries since the current conflict began in December 2013. Another 2.2 million South Sudanese are internally displaced as of October 2022. Despite South Sudan’s instability and lack of infrastructure and social services, more than 275,000 people had fled to South Sudan to escape fighting in Sudan as of December 2022.

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.93% (male 2,591,637/female 2,490,026)

15-64 years: 55.48% (male 3,426,822/female 3,296,113)

65 years and over: 2.59% (2023 est.) (male 174,080/female 139,701)

2023 population pyramid
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 80.8

youth dependency ratio: 74.7

elderly dependency ratio: 6.1

potential support ratio: 18.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.6 years

male: 18.9 years

female: 18.3 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 208

Birth rate

37.07 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Death rate

9.22 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Net migration rate

19.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Population distribution

clusters found in urban areas, particularly in the western interior and around the White Nile as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 21.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.12% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

459,000 JUBA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.25 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

1,223 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Infant mortality rate

total: 61.63 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 67.41 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 55.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 59.71 years

male: 57.94 years

female: 61.57 years (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 221

Gross reproduction rate

2.54 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 88.7% of population

rural: 75.8% of population

total: 78.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 11.3% of population

rural: 24.2% of population

total: 21.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.3% of GDP (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 60.6% of population

rural: 15.5% of population

total: 24.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 39.4% of population

rural: 84.5% of population

total: 75.4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, Trypanosomiasis-Gambiense (African sleeping sickness)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 34.5%

male: 40.3%

female: 28.9% (2018)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 21%

male: 21.8%

female: 20.2% (2021 est.)


Environment - current issues

water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife conservation and loss of biodiversity; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


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

Land use

agricultural land: 45% (2018)

arable land: 4.4% (2018)

permanent pasture: 40.7% (2018)

forest: 11.3% (2018)

other: 43.5% (2018)


urban population: 21.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.12% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to economic downturn, the lingering effects of floods, and prolonged internal conflict - despite sustained humanitarian assistance, food insecurity still affects large segments of the population, owing to rampant inflation and insufficient food supplies due to stagnant agricultural production, the effects of consecutive years with widespread floods, and the escalation of organized violence at the subnational level since 2020; about 7.76 million people, almost two thirds of the total population, are expected to face severe acute food insecurity in the lean season between April and July 2023 (2023)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 41.12 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.73 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 7.61 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,680,681 tons (2013 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Nile (shared with Rwanda [s], Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 190 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 230 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 240 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

49.5 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of South Sudan

conventional short form: South Sudan

etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's former position within Sudan prior to independence; the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]"

Government type

presidential republic


name: Juba

geographic coordinates: 04 51 N, 31 37 E

time difference: UTC+2 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from Djouba, another name for the Bari people of South Sudan

Administrative divisions

10 states; Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Upper Nile, Warrap, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Western Equatoria; note - in 2015, the creation of 28 new states was announced and in 2017 four additional states; following the February 2020 peace agreement, the country was again reorganized into the 10 original states, plus 2 administrative areas, Pibor and Ruweng, and 1 special administrative status area, Abyei (which is disputed between South Sudan and Sudan); this latest administrative revision has not yet been vetted by the US Board on Geographic Names


9 July 2011 (from Sudan)

National holiday

Independence Day, 9 July (2011)


history: previous 2005 (preindependence); latest signed 7 July 2011, effective 9 July 2011 (Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011); note - new constitution pending establishment under the 2018 peace agreement

amendments: proposed by the National Legislature or by the president of the republic; passage requires submission of the proposal to the Legislature at least one month prior to consideration, approval by at least two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the Legislature, and assent of the president; amended 2013, 2015, 2018


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of South Sudan

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011); Vice Presidents TABAN Deng Gai, Riek MACHAR Teny Dhurgon, James Wani IGGA, Rebecca Nyandeng Chol GARANG de Mabior, Hussein ABDELBAGI Ayii (since 22 February 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; TABAN served as First Vice President from 23 July 2016 to February 2020

head of government: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011); Vice Presidents TABAN Deng Gai, Riek MACHAR Teny Dhurgon, James Wani IGGA, Rebecca Nyandeng Chol GARANG de Mabior, Hussein ABDELBAGI Ayii (since 22 February 2020); note - TABAN served as First Vice President from 23 July 2016 to February 2020

cabinet: National Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the Transitional National Legislative Assembly

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11-15 April 2010 (next election scheduled for 2015 but postponed to 2018, then 2021, and again to 2023)

election results: 2010: Salva KIIR Mayardit elected leader of then-Southern Sudan in 2010; percent of vote - Salva KIIR Mayardit (SPLM) 93%, Lam AKOL (SPLM-DC) 7%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Legislature consists of:
Council of States, pending establishment as stipulated by the 2018 peace deal
Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), established on 4 August 2016, in accordance with the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan; note - originally 400 seats; the TNLA was expanded to 550 members from 400 and reestablished in May 2020 under the 2018 peace agreement

elections: Council of States - pending establishment as stipulated by the 2018 peace deal
Transitional National Legislative Assembly - 550 members; percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 332 SPLM, 128 SPLM-IO, 90 other political parties; composition - NA

election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SPLM 20, unknown 30; composition - men 44, women 6, percent of women 12%
National Legislative Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SPLM 251, DCP 10, independent 6, unknown 133; composition - men 291, women 109, percent of women 27.3%; note - total National Legislature percent of women 25.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of South Sudan (consists of a chief justice, deputy chief justice, and 5 additional justices); note - consistent with the 2008 Judiciary Act, the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan calls for 9, rather than 5 additional justices

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president (the 2011 Transitional Constitution of South Sudan calls for the establishment of a Judicial Service Council to recommend prospective justices to the president, and for the justices' tenures to be set by the National Legislature; neither of these steps have been effectively implemented as of mid-2023)

subordinate courts: national level - Courts of Appeal; High Courts; County Courts; state level - High Courts; County Courts; customary courts; other specialized courts and tribunals

Note: in mid-2022, the Government of South Sudan inaugurated an Ad-hoc Judiciary Committee, a 12-member body led by two eminent jurists, which is charged with reviewing relevant laws, advising on judicial reform and restructuring of the judiciary

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Change or DC
Democratic Forum or DF
Labour Party or LPSS [Federico Awi VUNI]
South Sudan Opposition Alliance or SSOA [Hussein ABDELBAGI Ayii]
Sudan African National Union or SANU [Toby MADOUT]
Sudan People's Liberation Movement or SPLM [Salva KIIR Mayardit]
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition or SPLM-IO [Riek MACHAR Teny Dhurgon]
United Democratic Salvation Front or UDSF    
United South Sudan African Party or USSAP [Louis Pasquale ALEU, Secretary]
United South Sudan Party or USSP [Paulino LUKUDU Obede]    

note: only parties with seats in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly included

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Philip Jada NATANA (since 17 September 2018)

chancery: 1015 31st Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 600-2238

FAX: [1] (202) 644-9910

email address and website:


Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. ADLER (since 24 August 2022)

embassy: Kololo Road adjacent to the EU's compound, Juba

mailing address: 4420 Juba Place, Washington DC  20521-4420

telephone: [211] 912-105-188

email address and website:


Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side contains a gold, five-pointed star; black represents the people of South Sudan, red the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green the verdant land, and blue the waters of the Nile; the gold star represents the unity of the states making up South Sudan

note: resembles the flag of Kenya; one of only two national flags to display six colors as part of its primary design, the other is South Africa's

National symbol(s)

African fish eagle; national colors: red, green, blue, yellow, black, white

National anthem

name: "South Sudan Oyee!" (Hooray!)

lyrics/music: collective of 49 poets/Juba University students and teachers

note: adopted 2011; anthem selected in a national contest


Economic overview

low-income, oil-based Sahelian economy; extreme poverty and food insecurity; COVID-19 and ongoing violence threaten socioeconomic potential; environmentally fragile; ongoing land and property rights issues; natural resource rich but lacks infrastructure

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$20.01 billion (2017 est.)

$21.1 billion (2016 est.)

$24.52 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 152

Real GDP growth rate

-5.2% (2017 est.)

-13.9% (2016 est.)

-0.2% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 212

Real GDP per capita

$1,600 (2017 est.)

$1,700 (2016 est.)

$2,100 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 218

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.06 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

10.52% (2021 est.)

29.68% (2020 est.)

87.24% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 205

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 34.9% (2011 est.)

government consumption: 17.1% (2011 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 10.4% (2011 est.)

exports of goods and services: 64.9% (2011 est.)

imports of goods and services: -27.2% (2011 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, sorghum, vegetables, cassava, goat milk, fruit, beef, sesame seed, sheep milk, mutton

Unemployment rate

13.91% (2021 est.)

14.03% (2020 est.)

12.23% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185


revenues: $1.94 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.938 billion (2019 est.)

Public debt

62.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

86.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Current account balance

-$6.55 million (2021 est.)

-$1.718 billion (2020 est.)

-$193.95 million (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80


$4.652 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2.344 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$3.641 billion (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132

Exports - partners

China 88%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, gold, forage crops, lumber, insect resins (2019)


$4.037 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.245 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$3.893 billion (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 37%, Kenya 18%, China 18% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, delivery trucks, packaged medicines, foodstuffs, clothing and apparel (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$183,614,800 (31 December 2020 est.)

$378,281,700 (31 December 2019 est.)

$36,396,400 (31 December 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Exchange rates

South Sudanese pounds (SSP) per US dollar -

306.355 (2021 est.)

165.907 (2020 est.)

157.999 (2019 est.)

141.386 (2018 est.)

113.648 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 28.2% (2018)

electrification - urban areas: 46.8% (2018)

electrification - rural areas: 23.6% (2018)


installed generating capacity: 121,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 531.66 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 26 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 99.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 157,100 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 12,900 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 126,500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

1.778 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 1.778 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161


Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 3.3 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: following a referendum, oil-rich South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 and became an independent nation; having been deprived of investment for decades, it inherited one of the least developed telecom markets in the world; there was once investment activity among mobile network operators who sought to expand their networks in some areas of the country; operators in the telecom sector placed themselves in survival mode and are hoping for a political settlement and a return to some degree of social stability; South Sudan has one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in Africa; growth in the sector in coming years is premised on a resolution to the political crisis and a recovery of the country’s economy; the virtually untapped internet and broadband market also depends to a large extent on the country gaining access to international fiber cables and on a national backbone network being in place; sophisticated infrastructure solutions are needed to reach the 80% of the population that live outside of the main urban centers; some improvement has followed from the cable link in February 2020 which connects Juba directly to the company’s submarine landing station at Mombasa; the cable was South Sudan’s first direct international fiber link, and has helped drive down the price of retail internet services for residential and business customers; a second cable linking to the border with Kenya was completed in December 2021 (2022)

domestic: fixed-line less than 1 per 100 subscriptions, mobile-cellular is 30 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 211 (2017)

Broadcast media

a single TV channel and a radio station are controlled by the government; several community and commercial FM stations are operational, mostly sponsored by outside aid donors; some foreign radio broadcasts are available


Internet users

total: 869,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 7.9% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


3 (2021)


total: 248 km (2018)

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

country comparison to the world: 127


total: 90,200 km (2019)

paved: 300 km (2019)

unpaved: 89,900 km (2019)

note: most of the road network is unpaved and much of it is in disrepair; the Juba-Nimule highway connecting Juba to the border with Uganda is the main paved road in South Sudan 

country comparison to the world: 54


see entry for Sudan

Military and Security

Military and security forces

South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF): Ground Force (includes Presidential Guard), Air Force, Air Defense Forces; National (or Necessary) Unified Forces (NUF); Ministry of Interior: South Sudan National Police Service  (2023)

note 1: the NUF are being formed by retraining rebel and pro-government militia fighters into military, police, and other government security forces; in August 2022, South Sudan held the first graduation ceremony for retrained personnel

note 2:
 numerous irregular forces operate in the country with official knowledge, including militias operated by the National Security Service (an internal security force under the Ministry of National Security) and proxy forces

Military expenditures

2.5% of GDP (2022 est.)

2% of GDP (2021 est.)

2% of GDP (2020 est.)

3.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

3.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimated 150-200,000 active personnel, mostly ground forces with small contingents of air and riverine forces (2022)

note: some active SSPDF personnel may be militia; the National/Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) will have some 50-80,000 personnel; the initial batch of 22,000 NUF personnel completed training in August 2022

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SSPDF inventory is primarily of Soviet origin; South Sudan has been under a UN arms embargo since 2018 (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; 12-24 months service (2023)

note: in 2019, women made up less than 10% of the active military

Military deployments

in 2023, South Sudan sent approximately 750 troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of an East Africa Community military peacekeeping force

Military - note

the SSPDF is largely focused on internal security; the Ground Force has approximately 8 light infantry divisions plus a mechanized presidential guard division (aka the Tiger Division); the Air Force has small numbers of transport aircraft and combat helicopters 

the SSPDF, formerly the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), was founded as a guerrilla movement against the Sudanese Government in 1983 and participated in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005); the Juba Declaration that followed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 unified the SPLA and the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF), the second-largest rebel militia remaining from the civil war, under the SPLA name; in 2017, the SPLA was renamed the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) and in September 2018 was renamed again as the SSPDF

the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has operated in the country since 2011 with the objectives of consolidating peace and security and helping establish conditions for the successful economic and political development of South Sudan; UNMISS had about 15,000 personnel deployed in the country as of early 2023

United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has operated in the disputed Abyei region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011; UNISFA's mission includes ensuring security, protecting civilians, strengthening the capacity of the Abyei Police Service, de-mining, monitoring/verifying the redeployment of armed forces from the area, and facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid; as of 2022, UNISFA had approximately 2,500 military and police personnel (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

South Sudan- Central African Republic: periodic violent skirmishes persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic over water and grazing rights

South Sudan-Democratic Republic of the Congo: none identified

South Sudan-Ethiopia: the unresolved demarcation of the boundary and lack of clear limitation create substantial room for territorial conflict both locally among the border populations and between the two capitals; besides a large number of indigenous farmers, the border region supports refugees and various rebel groups opposed to the governments in Khartoum and Addis Ababa

South Sudan-Kenya: two thirds of the boundary that separates Kenya and South Sudan's sovereignty known as the Ilemi Triangle has been unclear since British colonial times; Kenya has administered the area since colonial times; officials from Kenya and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding on boundary delimitation and demarcation and agreed to set up a joint committee; as of July 2019, the demarcation process was to begin in 90 days, but was delayed due to a lack of funding

South Sudan-Sudan: present boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, which clearly placed the Kafia Kingi area (adjacent to Central African Republic) within South Sudan as shown on US maps although it is mostly occupied by Sudan; final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; the final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan; clashes continue in the oil-rich Abyei region; the United Nations interim security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has been deployed since 2011, when South Sudan became independent, Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting Sudanese rebel groups

South Sudan-Uganda: none identified

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 289,840 (Sudan) (2022); 11,446 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2023)

IDPs: 2.23 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) (2023)

stateless persons: 10,000 (2022)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating:

Tier 3 — South Sudan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore it remains on Tier 3; the government took some steps to address trafficking, including convening an inter-ministerial task force, finalizing a National Action plan, and conducting awareness activities; however, there was a government policy or pattern whereby security and law enforcement officers continued to forcibly recruit child soldiers and did not hold any members criminally accountable for these unlawful acts; for the tenth consecutive year, there were no reported investigations into or prosecutions for forced labor or sex trafficking; officials did not report identifying or assisting any victims and continued to penalize victims for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit (2022)

trafficking profile: traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in South Sudan and South Sudanese abroad; women and girls, particularly from rural areas or internally displaced, are vulnerable to domestic servitude, and some are exploited by males in the households in sexual abuse or trafficking; South Sudanese girls are exploited in sex trafficking in restaurants, hotels, and brothels—sometimes involving corrupt law enforcement officials; some children are coerced to work in begging, herding, construction, and a wide range of physically demanding labor sectors; men and women recruited from neighboring countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, and Uganda, as well as South Sudanese women and children are recruited with fraudulent employment offers in hotels, restaurants, and construction and forced to work for little or no pay or coerced into commercial sex; government forces use children to fight or serve in support roles; several milliion internally displaced persons and South Sudanese refugees living in neighboring countries are at risk of trafficking, and unaccompanied children in the camps are vulnerable to abduction by sex and labor traffickers (2022)