Copyright© UN Photo/JC McIlwaine, via flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
South Sudan Young country at high risk of becoming a failed state
After years of civil war, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar, who had returned from exile, signed a peace agreement in September 2018. The agreement was hoped to end the civil war in South Sudan, which began in 2013. Even if the peace process has only been progressing slowly, Sudan was able to take another important step towards peace in February 2020, when a transitional government was formed.
However, the war has had severe consequences. According to United Nations data, more than seven of the country's twelve million people are in need of humanitarian aid. Over 4.5 million people are affected by food insecurity, in some cases extreme food insecurity. And the civil war has triggered one of Africa's biggest refugee crises. An estimated 1.6 million people have been internally displaced, and some 2.3 million people are reported to have fled to neighbouring countries (as at January 2021).
There is a huge need for international assistance and for alleviating human suffering.
Due to the political situation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has suspended its direct cooperation with the Government of South Sudan for the time being. Ongoing projects have been adjusted so that measures that take effect comparatively rapidly can mitigate the acute impact of violence.
The BMZ's work in the country focuses on food security and support for particularly vulnerable groups, such as women, children, refugees, internally displaced persons, and communities hosting large numbers of refugees.
German development cooperation with South Sudan
Germany has been engaged in development cooperation with Sudan since 1972. Cooperation with the Republic of the Sudan was suspended in 1989 because of the civil war. As early as in 2006, the German government began to assist the southern part of Sudan through development cooperation.
However, in response to the first eruption of violence in December 2013 and the new outbreak of the civil war in mid-2016, Germany readjusted its development cooperation with South Sudan so as to minimise direct contact with the government. Direct cooperation with the government was stopped, and activities under transitional development assistance (crisis recovery and rehabilitation) and under the BMZ's special initiatives on displacement and on hunger were expanded significantly.
The primary goal of German activities in South Sudan is to provide support, as directly as possible and with the quickest possible impact, to vulnerable groups such as women and children, internally displaced persons, refugees and host communities. The intention of the activities is to alleviate the impact of the civil war on the people and the suffering that it has caused.
Support for UN organisations and non-governmental organisations
The activities which the BMZ supports in South Sudan focus on improving people's food situation and securing their livelihoods. The tense security situation is posing frequent challenges to these activities.
The BMZ also supports programmes run by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In addition, Germany is supporting the work of numerous non-governmental organisations including faith-based agencies to help improve the living conditions of the people of South Sudan. The thematic focus is on food and agriculture, water and sanitation, education and income generation, and good governance and peacebuilding.
Numerous development activities in the wider region are complementing the BMZ's activities in South Sudan. For example, support is being provided to South Sudan's neighbours Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo with regard to the hosting of refugees from South Sudan.