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Republic of South Sudan
Flag of South Sudan Coat of Arms of South Sudan
Flag Coat of arms
South Sudan (orthographic projection)





South Sudanese


South Sudanese pound (SSP)



July 9, 2005


July 9, 2011


$21.123 billon (2011)

-Per capita

$2,134 (2011)

GDP (nominal)

$13.227 billion (2011)

-Per capita

$1,546 (2011)

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South Sudan, officially the Republic of South Sudan and formerly Southern Sudan, is a landlocked country located in East Africa. It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, and the Central African Republic to the west.


A South Sudanese man carries the flag (5925642623)

A South Sudanese man at independence festivities

Until around 1500, the area of Southern Sudan was mostly controlled by Central Sudanic speaking peoples. Linguistic evidence suggests that Nilotic people from Northern and Central Sudan, such as the Dinka, Shilluk, and Luo gradually dominated the region following the collapse of the Nubian kingdoms of Makuria and Alodia during the 14th century. According to folk history, the Shilluk Kingdom was established in Southern Sudan circa 1490 by King Nyikang (Nyikango), and eventually declined during the late 19th century. The non-Nilotic Azande later entered Southern Sudan in the 16th century, establishing the largest state in the region. This kingdom, like that of the Shilluk, also diminished over time. Egypt, under Khedive Isma'il Pasha, first attempted to control the region in the 1870s, establishing the province of Equatoria in the southern portion. It ceased to exist as an Egyptian outpost in 1889. In 1947, northern and southern regions of Sudan were unified into one political entity per negotiations at the Juba Conference.

In 1955, one year before Sudan became independent from the United Kingdom and Egypt, the First Sudanese Civil War officially began. This war was fought between the northern part of Sudan and rebel guerrillas in the south, who demanded representation and more regional autonomy. The signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 effectively ended the war and called for the establishment of the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region in the southern portion of the country. However, in 1983, the region was abolished by the administration of Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry. In direct response to this, the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) was formed by John Garang, and the Second Sudanese Civil War erupted. The second war ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which restored South Sudan's autonomy. Following an independence referendum that took place in Southern Sudan in 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was declared independent from Sudan on July 9, 2011. It is currently a member state of the United Nations and the African Union.

Post-independence, several armed conflicts have ensued in South Sudan. The country is reported to currently be at war with at least seven armed groups, and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has also been operating in the nation. Also, from 2011 to 2012 the SPLA/M raped hundreds of women and girls and killed several civilians during an attempt to disarm rebellions among the Shilluk and Murle ethnic peoples. In 2011 fighting intensified between the Nuer and Murle, and pledges by the former to "wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth" have caused many activists to fear of future genocide in the country. A border war between Sudan and South Sudan subsequently occurred from March to September 2012, which was eventually resolved through compromise. More recently, the dismissal of Vice President Riek Machar by President Salva Kiir in June 2013 prompted a faction loyal to the former to initiate a "coup" that has been ongoing since December 14.


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Main article: Economy of South Sudan
Logo of EAC

South Sudan could possibly become a member of the EAC.

South Sudan's economy is one of the weakest and most underdeveloped in the world, with the country having little existing infrastructure and the highest maternal mortality and female illiteracy rates in the world as of 2011. The country exports timber on the national market, and is also abundant with chromium ore, copper, diamonds, gold, hardwoods, hydropower, iron ore, limestone, mica, petroleum, silver, tungsten, and zinc. Like that of many developing countries, South Sudan's economy is heavily reliant on agriculture.


Oilfields in Southern Sudan have been important in keeping the region's economy alive since 1999. However, after South Sudan became an independent country in 2011, negotiators from the north and south were not immediately able to agree on how to split the revenue from these fields. It is estimated that approximately 80% of untapped oil deposits in Sudan are located in South Sudan. In accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, oil revenues were split equally among the north and south for the duration of the agreement period. This was maintained during the second autonomy of Southern Sudan from 2005 to 2011.

Prior to South Sudanese independence, negotiators from the north reportedly attempted to press for a deal that would maintain the 50-50 split of oil revenues, while the South Sudanese were holding out for more favorable terms. According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in South Sudan, oil revenues make up more than 98% of the government's budget, and since the signing of the peace agreement, this has amounted to more than $8 billion in revenue. However, after independence, South Sudan disapproved of Sudan charging US$34 per barrel to transport oil through the pipeline to the oil terminal at Port Sudan, which the country relied on. With production around 30,000 barrels a day, this costed over a million dollars per day. South Sudan ultimately suspended its oil production in January 2012, causing a large decrease in revenue and a 120% increase in food costs.

According to the International Monetary Fund, South Sudan's economy is currently pressured to diversify away from oil, as oil reserves will likely halve by 2020 if no new discoveries are made.


South Sudan contains much agricultural land and has one of the world's largest populations of pastoralists in the world. However, since Southern Sudan began exporting oil in 1999, agricultural production in the country has declined. According to the World Bank, the average annual growth rate of the agricultural sector was only 3.6 percent between 2000 and 2008, which is much lower than the 10.8 percent growth rate from the previous decade.

South Sudan relies heavily on food imports from neighboring countries, such as Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan. The nation's government has begun to address the issue regarding agriculture and food security, making it its top priority. In the future, South Sudan hopes to attract agricultural investors from wealthy Gulf Arab states, Israel, China, the Netherlands, and fellow African countries to increase production of basic food items including sugar, rice, cereals, oilseeds, livestock, and cotton.


Sudan and South Sudan currently share an external debt of approximately 38 billion dollars, all of which has been accumulated over the past five decades. Though a small portion of this is owed to international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (about 5.3 billion as of 2009), a large portion of it is actually owed to several foreign actors that have provided the nation with financial loans, including the Paris Club (over 11 billion dollars) and non-Paris Club bilateral creditors (over 13 billion dollars). The Paris Club refers to an informal group of financial officials from 19 of the world’s most influential economies, including such member nations as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada, while non-Paris Club bilateral creditors refers to any entity that does not enjoy permanent/associated status as a Paris Club member. Private bilateral creditors (i.e. private commercial banks and private credit suppliers) account for the majority of the remainder (approximately 6 billion of the total debt). While it is possible to arrive at a relatively accurate determination of the region’s total debt accumulation, it is not yet possible to determine precisely how much debt the newly formed nation of South Sudan independently carries, as an agreement has not yet been reached between Sudan and South Sudan regarding this highly contentious issue.

Possible East African Community membership[]

President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda invited the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan to apply for membership in the East African Community upon the country's independence, and South Sudan was reportedly an applicant as of mid-July 2011. As of early October that year, the nation was declared to officially become a member in the future. Analysts suggested that South Sudan's early efforts to integrate infrastructure, including rail links and oil pipelines, with systems in Kenya and Uganda indicated intention on the part of Juba to pivot away from dependence on Sudan and toward East Africa. Reuters believes that South Sudan is the likeliest candidate for EAC expansion in the short term, and an article in Tanzanian daily The Citizen that reported East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Abdirahin Haithar Abdi said South Sudan was "free to join the EAC" asserted that analysts believe the country will soon become a full member of the regional body. On 17 September, 2011, the Daily Nation quoted a South Sudanese MP as saying that while his government was eager to join the EAC, it would likely delay its membership over concerns that its economy was not sufficiently developed to compete with EAC member states and could become a "dumping ground" for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan imports. This was contradicted by President Salva Kiir, who announced South Sudan had officially embarked on the application process one month later.


South Sudan pound obverse 2011

A South Sudanese banknote

The numismatic history of South Sudan, like that of several African countries south of the Sahara Desert, is not very extensive. Because of its geography, Islam was not spread to South Sudan by any Muslim empires or dynasties, and thus, the only currency likely used before the Egyptians arrived was commodity and coinage from other countries. When Egypt established the province of Equatoria it likely introduced the Egyptian pound to southern Sudan, and when the northern and southern Sudan were united into one condominium shared between Egypt and the United Kingdom, the British pound sterling was introduced and circulated alongside the Egyptian pound until 1956. Upon Sudan's independence in 1957, the first Sudanese pound was introduced. It circulated in the north until the dinar was introduced in 1992, but in the south until 2007, when the second Sudanese pound was declared the new currency of Sudan. Once South Sudan gained its independence, it introduced its own currency, the South Sudanese pound, which currently circulates in the country. Unofficial Southern Sudanese notes were printed by the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement in 2002, but were never declared as legal tender and were likely never circulated.

Currency History
Code Currency Name Dates Conversion Divisions
EGP Egyptian pound
- 1956
  10 Millièmes = 1 Piastre; 100 Piastres = 1 Pound
SDP First Sudanese pound
1957 - 2007
1 EGP = 1 SDP 100 Qirush = 1 Pound
SDG Second Sudanese pound
2007 - 2011
1000 SDP = 1 SDG 100 Qirush = 1 Pound
SSP South Sudanese pound
2011 -
1 SDP = 1 SSP 100 Piasters = 1 Pound

See also[]

  • Darfur
  • Sudan
  • Sultanate of Darfur


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