South Sudan Nation

Effectively starting a new country 'from scratch' is probably more daunting than the desire for freedom and self-rule itself. New government, new legislature, new judiciary, even a new currency all start at ground zero. But in South Sudan those problems and challenges have to be met whilst the country remains stubbornly poor with insecure borders, a population left uneducated and traumatised by decades of war and with militia groups still operating at random with their own agendas in large swathes of the country. Add in the issue of millions returning 'home' overstretching an already weak infrastructure and some idea of the size of the problems South Sudan faces as the world's newest nation becomes evident.

Over Reliance On Oil Revenues

South Sudan Nation: Oil Pip MapOil accounts for some 98% of South Sudan's limited wealth, however experts predict that the next two years will see oil output decrease and commercial oil reserves will be depleted within 30-40 years. As such the country needs to diversify quickly if it is to remain a viable state in the long term. Failure to diversify will see South Sudan almost completely dependent on foreign aid. Furthermore, South Sudan is dependent on the hostile north to get its oil to Port Sudan for sale on the international markets (map, left). To date there is no agreement regarding fees and division of revenue for using these pipes with North Sudan threatening to close them down.

Should the north do do, South Sudan would be effectively bankrupt within a few months, and, unable to pay its army, be at risk from the north. Suggestions that a new pipeline should be constructed through Kenya have been discussed but acknowledged as being hugely expensive and no short term solution.

Border Dispute

When the Nairobi peace accord was signed in 2005 it was agreed that a referendum would be held in 2011 to establish if the south of the country wanted to become independent. That agreement also noted that any future border should be defined within six months, however six years later no progress has been made with oil rich areas such as Abyei still in dispute. Without resolution two decades of civil war, Africa's longest civil war, could flare up again fuelled by the north's economic hit if losing income from its former oil fields.

Poor Infrastructure

Two decades of war effectively destroyed South Sudan's infrastructure and rebuilding it will be one of the new country's biggest problems, not least because 85% of the population is illiterate, 75% of teachers have moved to the north of the country and the country has only 56km of paved roads making transport a major difficulty. International donors such as the UN are investing in South Sudan to overcome some of these problems such as repairing 2000km of roads to make transport easier. Other projects include the provision of electric power stations and water and sanitation pipes. To date just 27% of the population have access to safe water and even less, 15%, access to sanitation.

Poor Governance

One of the major problems facing South Sudan is its lack of competent governance not least because of a lack of suitably qualified and experienced (and even literate) staff. Most institutions remain weak without proven records of being able to deliver and those institutions become weaker as they go down from central government, state, county levels and below. This video explores some of the many challenges and problems facing South Sudan today.


South Sudan Nation

South Sudan Nation

South Sudan Nation

South Sudan Nation



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South Sudan Nation

South Sudan Nation

Facts, figures and a video exploring the problems facing the new South Sudan nation from its border and oil dispute to poor infrastructure.


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