South Sudan is a country whose citizens are severely poverty ridden and ravaged by the civil war. South Sudan only has 60 kilometers of paved roads – and running water is scarce. Despite the decades-long civil war with Sudan, South Sudan depends largely on imports – goods, services and capital from the north.

South Sudan is landlocked, and subsistence agriculture provides a living for the vast majority of the population, according to the CIA World Factbook. The government spends the majority of their money maintaining a large army, and the World Factbook said they periodically fail to pay salaries, which results in riots by “unruly soldiers.”

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, economic activity and market development have been stalled by conflict-related disruptions and inadequate infrastructure. Additionally, “most rural households have few or no assets.”

The vast majority of the people living in South Sudan have “traditional, thatched-roof houses with scant access to safe water and sanitation, education or other necessities.”

The World Factbook said the government of South Sudan derives nearly 98 percent of its budget revenues from oil, and this oil is “exported through two pipelines that run to refineries and shipping facilities at Port Sudan on the Red Sea.” Sporadically, the government of South Sudan in Juba and the government of Sudan in Khartoum engage in military conflicts, and thus the relationship between them remains tense. There are several key issues that have not been resolved, “including the sharing of oil proceeds, the border demarcation, and cross-border trade and citizenship,” the IFAD said.

One particular example of this conflict occurred in early 2012, at which time South Sudan suspended oil production because of a disagreement with Sudan over “transshipment fees.” The World Factbook said this had a “devastating impact on GDP, which declined by at least 55 percent in 2012.”

Despite this, South Sudan still supports 10 to 20 million heads of cattle, and is one of the abundant agricultural areas in Africa due to its rich soil. Following independence, South Sudan claimed the South Sudanese Pound as its new form of currency.

The World Factbook reports that the long-term problems in South Sudan include maintaining economic stability and independence, improving tax collection and financial management, and alleviating poverty by focusing resources on speeding growth and improving the business environment.

– Alycia Rock

Sources: CIA, Rural Poverty Portal, World Bank
Photo: Sudan Proud