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Egypt attempted to colonize the region of southern Sudan by establishing the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. Islamic Mahdist revolutionaries overran the region in 1885, but in 1898 a British force was able to overthrow the Mahdist regime. An Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was established the following year with Equatoria being the southernmost of its eight provinces. The isolated region was largely left to itself over the following decades, but Christian missionaries converted much of the population and facilitated the spread of English. When Sudan gained its independence in 1956, it was with the understanding that the southerners would be able to participate fully in the political system. When the Arab Khartoum government reneged on its promises, a mutiny began that led to two prolonged periods of conflict (1955-1972... See More



 Sahel region of northeastern Africa; south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, west of Ethiopia

Geographic Coordinates:

 8 00 N, 30 00 E


 Total: 644,329 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Texas

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 5,413 km
Border countries: Central African Republic 989 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 639 km, Ethiopia 934 km, Kenya 232 km, Sudan 2,184 km, Uganda 435 km

Note: South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment; final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 238)

Maritime Claims:

 None (landlocked)


 Hot with seasonal rainfall influenced by the annual shift of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone; rainfall is heaviest in the upland areas of the south and diminishes to the north


 The terrain gradually rises from plains in the north and center to southern highlands along the border with Uganda and Kenya; the White Nile, flowing north out of the uplands of Central Africa, is the major geographic feature of the country supporting agriculture and extensive wild animal populations; The Sudd (a name derived from floating vegetation that hinders navigation) is a large swampy area of more than 100,000 sq km fed by the waters of the White Nile that dominates the center of the country

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: NA
Highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m

Natural Resources:

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

Geography - Note:

 The Sudd is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile, comprising more than 15% of the total area; it is one of the world's largest wetlands

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 Noun: South Sudanese (singular and plural)
Adjective: South Sudanese

Ethnic Groups:

 Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi


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


 Animist, Christian


 8,260,490 (according to disputed 2008 census; actual number may be as high as 9.28 million) (2008)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 44.4% (male 1,945,033/female 1,722,860)
15-64 years: 53% (male 2,216,427/female 2,157,893)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 125,840/female 92,437) (2008)


 Urban population: 22% (2009 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 JUBA (capital) 250,000 (2008 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 102 deaths/1,000 live births (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 67% of population
Rural: 53% of population
Total: 55% of population

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 3.1% (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne disease: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria, dengue fever, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
Animal contact disease: rabies


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 27%
Male: 40%
Female: 16%

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of South Sudan
Conventional short form: South Sudan

Government Type:



 Name: Juba
Geographic coordinates: 04 51 N 31 37 E
Time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 10 states; Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Upper Nile, Warrap, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Western Equatoria


 9 July 2011 (from Sudan)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, (9 July 2011)


 Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, effective 9 July 2011

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011); Vice President Riek MACHAR (since 10 July 2011); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

Head of government: President Salva KIIR Mayardit (since 9 July 2011); Vice President Riek MACHAR (since 10 July 2011)

Cabinet: National Council of Ministers; appointed by the president and approved by a resolution from the Legislative Assembly

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a four year term; election last held on 11-15 April 2010 (next to be held in 2015)

Election results: Salva KIIR Mayardit elected president; percent of vote - Salva KIIR Mayardit 93%, Lam AKOL 7%

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral National Legislature consists of the National Legislative Assembly (332 seats) and the Council of States (50 seats); members serve four-year terms

Elections: National Legislative Assembly - last held 11-15 April 2010 (next to be held in 2015); Council of States - established and members appointed 1 August 2011

Election results: National Legislative Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SPLM 251, SPLM-DC 6, NCP 3, independent 6, unknown 66; Council of States - seats by party - SPLM 20, unknown 30

Note: a presidential decree of 1 August 2011 reconstituted the National Legislative Assembly, as permitted under Article 94 of the Transitional Constitution, to include the 170 members elected 11-15 April 2010, 96 former members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Sudan, and 66 newly appointed members for a total of 332; a presidential decree also established a Council of States, initially with 50 members - the 20 former members of the Council of States of the Republic of Sudan plus an additional 30 appointed representatives

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, High Courts, County Courts

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Sudan People's Liberation Movement or SPLM; National Congress Party or NCP; Sudan People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change or SPLM-DC

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant), head of mission Ezekiel Lol GATKOUTH
Chancery: 1233 20th St. NW, Suite 602, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: [1] (202) 293-7943
FAX: [1] (202) 293-7941

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant), Charge d' Affaires R. Barrie WALKLEY
Embassy: Juba

Flag Description:

 Three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side contains a gold, five-pointed star; black represents the people of South Sudan, red the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green the verdant land, and blue the waters of the Nile; the gold star represents the unity of the states making up South Sudan

Note: resembles the flag of Kenya; one of only two national flags to display six colors as part of its primary design, the other is South Africa's

National Symbols:

 African fish eagle

National Anthem:

 Name: South Sudan Oyee! (Hooray!)
Lyrics/music: collective of 49 poets/Juba University students and teachers

Note: adopted 2011; the anthem was selected in a national contest

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Economy - Overview:

 Industry and infrastructure in landlocked South Sudan are severely underdeveloped and poverty is widespread, following several decades of civil war with the north. Subsistence agriculture provides a living for the vast majority of the population. Property rights are tentative and price signals are missing because markets are not well organized. South Sudan has little infrastructure - just 60 km of paved roads. Electricity is produced mostly by costly diesel generators and running water is scarce. The government spends large sums of money to maintain a large army; delays in paying salaries have resulted in riots by unruly soldiers. Ethnic conflicts have resulted in a large number of civilian deaths and displacement. South Sudan depends largely on imports of goods, services, and capital from the north. Despite these disadvantages, South Sudan does have abundant natural resources. South Sudan produces nearly three-fourths of the former Sudan's total oil output of nearly a half million barrels per day. The government of South Sudan derives nearly 98% of its budget revenues from oil. Oil is exported through two pipelines that run to refineries and shipping facilities at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and the 2005 oil sharing agreement with Khartoum called for a 50-50 sharing of oil revenues between the two entities. That deal expired on 9 July, however, when South Sudan became an independent country. The economy of South Sudan undoubtedly will remain linked to Sudan for some time, given the long lead time and great expense required to build another pipeline. South Sudan also holds one of the richest agricultural areas in Africa in the White Nile valley, which has very fertile soils and more-than-adequate water supplies. Currently the region supports 10-20 million head of cattle. South Sudan also contains large wildlife herds, which could be exploited in the future to attract eco-tourists. And the White Nile has sufficient flow to generate large quantities of hydroelectricity. South Sudan does not have large external debt or structural trade deficits. South Sudan has received more than $4 billion in foreign aid since 2005, largely from the UK, US, Norway, and Netherlands, but Khartoum has imposed blockades on goods and capital going to South Sudan. The World Bank plans to support investment in infrastructure, agriculture, and power generation. The Government of South Sudan has set a target for economic growth of 6% for the remainder of 2011, and expects 7.2% growth in 2012. Inflation stood at 8.6% in April 2011, with high fuel prices pushing up food prices. After independence, South Sudan's central bank plans to issue a new currency, the South Sudanese Pound, allowing a short grace period for turning in the old currency. Long term problems include alleviating poverty, maintaining macroeconomic stability, improving tax collection and financial management, focusing resources on speeding growth, and improving the business environment.

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 21,000 (mostly from Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia)
IDPs: 80,000 (2010)

Agriculture - Products:

 Sorghum, maize, rice, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, mangoes, papayas, bananas, sweet potatoes sunflower, cotton, sesame, cassava, beans, peanuts; cattle, sheep

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Telephone System:

 International: country code - 211

Broadcast Media:

 TV is controlled by the government; several private FM stations are operational in South Sudan; some foreign radio broadcasts are available

Internet Country Code:

 .sd; note - IANA has not yet designated a separate country code for South Sudan

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Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 16
Under 914 m: 1


 Est. 236 km; note - rail system reported to be in disrepair (2010)


 Est. 7,000 km; note - very little of the road network is paved and much of it is in disrepair (2010)


 See entry for Sudan

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Military Branches:

 South Sudan Armed Forces

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 The Government of South Sudan announced in August 2010 that anyone younger than 18 years of age would be mustered out of the army, but 900 children were estimated to still be active at the end of that year; in April 2011, a conscription program was being implemented to thwart recruitment of military-aged males into other armed groups (2011)

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Disputes - International:

 South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan; periodic violent skirmishes with South Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic; the boundary that separates Kenya and South Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times

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Last Updated: December 2011

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