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South Sudan

Situation and cooperation

Please note our information on the current situation in South Sudan.

People from South Sudan arriving at Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda

After decades of civil war, the need for international support in South Sudan is vast. An entire new state must be built from scratch. Numerous institutions which, until 2011, were the responsibility of the central government for the whole of Sudan and were based in Khartoum, need to be built up step by step in the new state. This is no easy task, since there are too few properly trained officials available and the political situation makes progress more difficult.

Since hostilities flared up again in July 2016, the political and economic situation in South Sudan has worsened continuously. Corruption dominates public life and is putting a strain on the government's relations with both the people and international donors. On Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2017, South Sudan is ranked 179th out of 180 countries evaluated.

Social situation

The most recent United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) ranked South Sudan 187th out of 189 countries assessed. A large part of the population now depends on humanitarian assistance. Some 30 per cent of the roughly 12 million inhabitants have been displaced. Agricultural production has been seriously affected by the civil war. Parts of the country are threatened by a severe hunger crisis.

Until now, civil society has hardly been able to establish organisations. Local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) lack funding and human resources. In the run-up to the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010 and the referendum in 2011, NGO networks did, however, spring up, some with the support of Sudanese people living in exile. There is potential here for development initiatives. The churches play an important role in providing basic services in South Sudan, and also in reconciliation work.


Economic situation

Dr Taban Dafala showing the medication he has smuggled from Uganda to Jalimo in South Sudan in order to treat people there.

The economy of South Sudan depends to a large degree on oil exports. These exports account for around 60 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Slumping oil prices and a drop in oil production because of the civil war, along with rapidly rising inflation, have led to a severe deterioration in the country's economic situation. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), GDP has declined by more than 50 per cent since 2011.

Due to the political and general uncertainty, it has not yet been possible for a private sector to develop. Almost all products are imported from the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. The decades of fighting that have forced people to leave their land and their homes mean that much basic agricultural knowledge has been lost. A great deal of farmland is unusable because of the insecurity generated by civil war or because the land has been or is thought to have been mined.

South Sudan has virtually no infrastructure. The country has practically no energy supply, water or sanitation, telecommunications or transport networks. Since the 2005 peace agreement was signed, though, the government of southern Sudan has been endeavouring to improve living conditions in the regions that had previously been severely neglected. Following its declaration of independence, the Government of South Sudan had drawn up a comprehensive development plan with the support of the donor community. Much of the progress achieved since 2005 has been destroyed in recent years by the civil war.


Priority areas of German cooperation with South Sudan

A woman and her child from South Sudan in Bidi Bidi refugee camp in northern Uganda

In response to the new outbreak of civil war in July 2016, the BMZ has readjusted its development cooperation programme in South Sudan. Ongoing projects have been adjusted so that measures that take effect comparatively rapidly (for instance the distribution of seeds and cash-for-work programmes) can mitigate the acute impact of protracted violence. The main focus of all activities is on helping the most vulnerable, such as women, children, refugees, internally displaced persons and communities hosting a large number of refugees.

The BMZ's work concentrates on improving the food situation and securing people's livelihoods. The Ministry also supports numerous sustainability-oriented projects by multilateral partners and non-governmental organisations (including faith-based agencies) which help improve the living situation for the people in South Sudan. Germany's implementing organisations KfW and GIZ are working with local and international non-governmental organisations and multilateral organisations, with a focus on water and sanitation and agriculture and food security. Projects are implemented wherever the security situation allows.

Numerous development activities in the region are complementing the BMZ's activities in South Sudan. For example, support is provided to projects in northern Uganda, which has experienced a huge influx of refugees from South Sudan.


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