The Republic of Sudan is the newest country in the world, with their independence from Sudan only made official on July 9, 2011. The new nation’s capital is located in Juba, the largest city in South Sudan. Juba is considered as one of the fastest-growing cities in the world due to oil exploration with China, Malaysia and India owning most of the stakes. It has attracted many Chinese who have started to come for work. The autonomous region of South Sudan was formed after the end of the first civil war in 1972, when peace reigned for almost 10 years. Another civil war broke out in 1983 which lasted for over 20 years. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was meant to stop the second civil war. Some of the agreements include the sharing of oil revenues, democratic governance and a 6-year autonomy after which a referendum will be held to decide if they want to be independent. Despite the oil exploration in South Sudan, it is currently one of the poorest nations in the world. It is also the considered to have the worst situation in terms of the health conditions of its population.
:: Background of South Sudan ::
France and Britain tried to gain control of the region in the 1800s, with Sahel and part of the Sahara to be under the French. However the plan of the French to build an irrigation dam on the Nile caused the British to panic. They thought that would mean that the water will no longer reach Cairo, which leads to India which is a territory of Britain and where they have a very high stake. They also thought that they had to take control of Egypt. So after the standoff the French withdrew and Britain was able to have control of the region and Sudan was created. North Sudan was ruled through the government officials that served under the Ottoman Empire while the southern region was ruled through the kings and leaders of the numerous tribes. But the development was not forthcoming for the southern part of Sudan. They were discriminated and basically left to fend for themselves. Rebellion started and escalated into a civil war from 1955 to 1972. It ended with a peace treaty that lasted until the next civil war broke out in 1983. This time the war lasted until 2005 with a peace treaty brokered by supporting countries. The war brought death to about 2.5 million South Sudanese, who mostly died from drought and starvation. In January 2011, a referendum was held. This was part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which brought the second civil war to an end, with South Sudan gaining autonomy once again. There was a huge turnout and an overwhelming 98% of the voters were in favor of independence. South Sudan got won its independence on July 11, 2011 and became a member of the United Nations on July 14, 2011.
In this Country Profile
:: Geography of South Sudan ::
South Sudan has fertile plains and some mountainous areas and the majority of the land area is covered by swamps, grassland and tropical forests. Part of the White Nile River passes through South Sudan, particularly in the region of Juba. The White Nile and its tributaries contribute to the creation of the Sudd, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in the whole world.
South Sudan is located north of Kenya and Uganda and to the west of Ethiopia. It is in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa, and south of Sudan. It lies 8° 00’ north of the Equator and 30° 00’ east of Greenwich.
Slightly smaller than Texas, South Sudan has a total landmass of 619,745 square kilometers, composed of 10 states namely East Equatoria, West Equatoria, Central Equatoria and also includes Jonglei or Junqali, Unity, Upper Nile, North Bahr el Ghazal, West Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes. These 10 states were formed from the three historic provinces of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal, respectively.
South Sudan is a landlocked nation, so it does not have a coastline and has no maritime claims. The country has a very long land boundary totaling 5,413 kilometers. Its southern section is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo for 639 kilometers, Uganda by 435 kilometers and Kenya by 232 kilometers. Along the eastern section, South Sudan shares a border with Ethiopia for 934 kilometers and the Central African Republic borders it for 989 kilometers on its western section. Its longest border is with Sudan on the north, which extends for 2.184 kilometers.
Being near the equator, South Sudan experiences a predominantly tropical climate. The annual shift of the inter-tropical convergence zone affects the seasonal rainfall of the country, with the northern portion of the country receiving less rainfall than the higher regions in the south. Heaviest rainfall occurs during the months of April up to October, averaging 37.54 inches annually. The rest of the year is generally hot.
South Sudan’s terrain is a mix of plains on the northern and central regions with highlands located in the southern region near the border with Kenya and Uganda. Numerous tropical rainforests can be seen in South Sudan, evidence of its tropical climate and its nearness to the Equator. Other areas are dominated by grassland and swamps, particularly the one that is fed by the White Nile River, an area that is more than 100,000 square kilometers that is near the center of South Sudan. It is a place called Sudd or Bahr al Jabar. It is considered one of the largest wetlands in the world. In the Nile River basin, the Sudd is considered to be the largest freshwater wetland.
The highest peak in South Sudan is Mount Kinyeti, which rises to a height of 3,187 meters. It is located in the state of Eastern Equatoria, near the border with Uganda. Mount Kinyeti is part of the Imatong Mountains in South Sudan, which is part of the mountain range called Lolobai or Lomatiri mountains that extend out to the Ugandan border.
Although South Sudan will require extensive help in all aspects of its development as the newest country in the world, it is expected that its agricultural potential will be tapped since 80% of the land in South Sudan is arable, compared to Kenya, which only has about 33% arable land. The country also receives higher rainfall than its neighboring countries that promotes growth of trees, vegetables, grains and herbs.
South Sudan has deposits of diamonds, gold, iron ore, limestone, copper, zinc, mica, silver, chromium ore and tungsten. The country also has fertile lands suitable for agriculture, vast hydropower potential and also has hardwoods and petroleum.
Current Environmental Issues
The years of civil war had left South Sudan devastated and neglected. The Sudd is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other parasites that affect humans and animals. There is lack of hygiene and environmental sanitation. Wastewater management is also lacking. South Sudan needs sources of clean and potable water.
:: People of South Sudan ::
The population of South Sudan is composed of different ethnic tribes, most of them belonging to Nilotic tribes like the Dinka, Shiluk and Nuer. There are also other tribes like the Azande, Jo Luo and the Lotuhu and Acholi. The Dinka is the largest group of people living in South Sudan, broken down into about 25 smaller ethnic groups. The Nuer is the second largest ethnic tribe followed by the Shilluk tribe.
Inconclusive data figures, based on a disputed census done in 2008 places the population of South Sudan at about 8,260,490 although it can be as high as 9.3 million. The highest concentration of the population is located in Jonglei with about 1.4 million, followed by about 1.1 million in Central Equatoria where the nation’s capital Juba is located. The rest of the population is almost evenly distributed in the other 8 states, with the West Bahr el Ghazal being the least populated with just about 333,000 people. There is no data on net migration but according to existing records from the United Nations, it was estimated that about 1.7 million displaced South Sudanese returned to their homes in 2008. The New Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation estimates the population of South Sudan to be about 12.5 million.
According to 2008 estimates the majority of the population’s age structure in South Sudan is in the 0-14 and 15-64 age groups. The zero to fourteen age group has 44.4%, with 1,945,033 males versus 1,722,860 females. Fifty-three percent of the population is in the 15 to 64 age group, with 2,216,427 males and 2,157,893 females. The lowest age structure is in the 65 years and over age bracket, with only 2.6%, broken into 125,840 males and 92,437 females.
Infant Mortality Rate
According to World Vision, the infant mortality rate in South Sudan is very high, with their statistics showing 150 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It is a very big issue in South Sudan. Because of the diseases that are prevalent in the country, children under five years of age, numbering about 670,000 are three times more likely to die from diseases that are very easy to prevent such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, malaria and malnutrition.
HIV/AIDS is another threat to South Sudan after the long civil wars, with South Sudanese returning from countries like Uganda and Kenya where HIV/AIDS prevalence is high. According to a news report published on June 14, 2011, there are 116,000 known cases of AIDS infection in South Sudan with about 46,000 receiving treatment in medical centers around the country.
People native to South Sudan are called South Sudanese, which is used as a noun in singular and plural form and also used as an adjective.
South Sudan is composed of about 200 ethnic tribes, such as the Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, which are the three biggest groups of ethnic tribes. Other ethnic groups include the Acholi, Anuak, Azande, Bari, Bongo, Bviri, Didinga, Dungotona, Kakwa, Kuku, Lango, Lndi, Mandari, Murle and Ndogo.
Most of the people in South Sudan practice Christianity, with Catholicism and Assemblies of God followed by many. Others practice traditional beliefs like animism.
In South Sudan, English and Standard Arabic are the official languages, with Arabic including Juba and Sudanese variants included. Being composed of over 200 ethnic tribes, the language in South Sudan is very diverse. Some of the regional languages spoken in South Sudan are Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari, Otuho, Ubangian and Jur Modo.
Although most people aged 15 and over can read and write, literacy in South Sudan has fallen, basically due to poverty and the two civil wars that lasted for almost 40 years. Currently it is the second lowest in the world, following Afghanistan. Of the total population, only 27% is literate, slightly higher for the males at 40% and only 16% for the females.
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