South Sudan

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

British explorers established the colony of Equatoria in 1870, which composed most of what is now South Sudan. When Sudan attained independence in 1956, the southerners were assured that they would be able to participate fully in the political system, but the Arab government in Khartoum reneged on its promises. A 2011 referendum in favor of secession allowed South Sudan to gain its independence that same year. Since then, South Sudan has struggled to form a viable governing system and has been plagued by widespread corruption, political conflict, and communal violence. Implementation of a 2018 peace agreement has been stalled as South Sudanese leaders wrangle over power-sharing arrangements.

Geography

Area

total: 644,329 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

12,118,379 (2023 est.)

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.)

Languages

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

Religions

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

Population growth rate

4.78% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Juba

Executive branch

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

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

Economy

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.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,600 (2017 est.)
$1,700 (2016 est.)
$2,100 (2015 est.)

Agricultural products

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

Exports

$4.652 billion (2021 est.)
$2.344 billion (2020 est.)
$3.641 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

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

Imports

$4.037 billion (2021 est.)
$4.245 billion (2020 est.)
$3.893 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

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

Imports - commodities

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

Exchange rates

South Sudanese pounds (SSP) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
306.355 (2021 est.)
165.907 (2020 est.)
157.999 (2019 est.)
141.386 (2018 est.)
113.648 (2017 est.)


Page last updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024