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Just recently becoming a new nation, South Sudan or now officially can be called as the Republic of South Sudan is a country situated in the northeastern Africa. North and South Sudan have battled for over five decades that finally led to a declaration of independence on July 09, 2011. South Sudan is part of the African Union and is a member state of the United Nations. Its biggest city is Juba which is also the country’s capital. There have been plans of moving South Sudan’s capital city to Ramciel, which is more central. South Sudan has a total land area of 619,745 square kilometers. Its neighboring countries include Congo to its southwest, Central African Republic on its west, Kenya on its southeast, and Ethiopia to the east, and Sudan on its north. South Sudan is said to be one of the most underprivileged countries in the world, particularly being worst when it comes to public health (Ross 2004). There are also reports of famine in the country that eventually led to the deaths of many.
The country is divided into 10 states which make up for the 3 historical districts of the country which are the Greater Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal, and Equatoria (Martell 2011). The 10 states are expanded and sectioned further into 86 counties.
South Sudan is very abundant when it comes to natural resources. Their richness in natural resources has been the origin of the numerous decades of war. The Egyptians together with the northern al-Jallabas supported by the government of Khartoum elites pursued to steal the wealth of the south. This is why they resisted the separation and the war broke loose because they knew that South Sudan would not grant them any access to the resources once they become independent. South Sudan’s other resources include minerals like rough diamonds and gold, teak as a forestry products, and many agricultural goods such as mangoes. South Sudan is rich in tropical forest, grasslands, and swamps. The Sudd, the largest swamp in the world can also be found in South Sudan which has a total area of about 30,000 square kilometers (DiPiazza 2006). River Nile is most dominant and known geographic feature of the country, flowing all over the state. The river along with its many streams give the people almost unlimited sources of water which keeps the land fertile that will be good for their crops as well as vegetation. The major resource of water available in the country is also useful for the livestock sector and serves as a means of drink for the wild animals. The country’s highest mountain is the Imatong Mountains which can be found in the southeast part of the country in the Eastern Equatoria state. The range has a tropical rainforest climate which means it’s typically hot and wet with frequent and heavy rainfalls throughout the entire year. Over the years, the abundant ecology of the country has been harshly degraded by forest sanction and subsistence farming, causing the widespread erosion of the steep slopes.
Badingilo National Park is a protected area of South Sudan which is the second biggest wildlife resettlement in the world. Research have shown that the Boma National Park and the Sudd offer home to a huge population of animals such as lions, elephants, topi, buffalo, giraffes, and kob. The forest reserves of the country provide home for chimpanzees, forest monkeys and elephants, bongo, and forest hogs. A study in 2005 showed that the big migration of about 1.3 million antelopes is still part of South Sudan’s wildlife population. The several habitats in South Sudan include wooded as well as grassy savannas, high-altitude escarpments and plateaus, grasslands, wetlands, and floodplains.
South Sudan has around 60 different indigenous communities or groups among their 2008 record of 8.3 to 9.3 million people (Kauffmann 2004). There is a core group found in Juba known as “House of Nationalities”, which represents all the 62 recognized ethnic groups in South Sudan. The creation of this was proposed in order to preserve and sustain ethnic harmony and avoid tribal wars. There are also over 60 indigenous languages in this country but English remains to be the official language of South Sudan. In Juba, the capital city, a language known as Juba Arabic is widely used by over a thousand citizens.
When it comes to religion, there is no definite one but people mostly practice their traditional beliefs. Although there are many who have been transformed to Christianity brought by several Christian missionary acts in the country (DiPiazza 2006).
The educational system of South Sudan is patterned from that of the Republic of Sudan. The scheme in place follows an 8 + 3 + 4 system which was in place since 1990. Primary education is made up of eight years succeeded by three years of secondary education, and then four years f university education. Though, unlike than the educational system of the Republic of Sudan that uses Arabic, South Sudan uses English as primary mode of instruction. However, there is a serious shortage in the number of English teachers and English-speaking teachers in the field of science and technology.
Based on estimates done in 2011, more than eighty percent of South Sudan cannot read or write. Most female children suffered most about this issue of illiteracy. No other country in the world has lesser proportion of girls going to school than that of South Sudan. Based on a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), less than one percent of girls entering primary school finish primary education. Additionally, female illiteracy is the highest in the world in South Sudan an in every 4 school children, only one is a girl. There is obviously a severe problem with the education system of South Sudan and thus there are intense efforts to improve education in Sudan.
To be able to build and maintain infrastructures in the country, South Sudan needs graduates of technical schools to serve the manpower needed. Infrastructures such as electricity-generating plants, buildings, roads and bridges, water treatment and sewage plants, communications networks and telephone systems are left with insufficient manpower. This is primarily because of the lack institutions to train the needed manpower of the country.
Sudan only has 12 universities in total. Seven of which are public while the other 5 are private. The government estimates that about twenty-five thousand students are enrolled in the public universities (DiPiazza 2006). Although, there are still no official count on how many students actually do go to the universities which are all now situated in South Sudan and no longer in Khartoum. The government provides the students with housing and food. However, a very critical issue for the education in South Sudan is the lack finances to support the needed education of the students. Other issues include the lack of teachers since seventy-five percent of the lecturers are from Sudan and the lack of space to serve students and institutions infrastructures.
Prior to the independence of South Sudan on the 7th of July 2011, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly approved a transitional constitution. When President Salva Kiir Mayardit signed the said constitution, it served as the supreme law of the country and superseded the Interim Constitution of 2005. The constitution featured a mixed presidential system of government with the President holding the title of Head of State, Head of Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The constitution also founded the National Legislature which comprises of two Houses namely the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States. The National Legislative Assembly serves as the council of the people as the members are elected by the people while the second assembly, the Council of States, compose of congressmen who represents the states. An independent Judiciary department established featured the Supreme Court as the highest of all courts in the country.
The first President of the autonomous government was John Garang, who founded the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/ Movement (SPLA/M). He lead the government until his death on 30 July 2005.His the deputy, Salva Kiir Mayardit sworn in as the first Vice President of Sudan and the President of the Government of the Southern Sudan back on 11 August 2005. Riek Machar then took his place as Vice Present (DiPiazza 2006).
The constitution of South Sudan constitutes the South Sudan Armed Forces at Part 10, Chapter 1. The armed forces of South Sudan is currently composed of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) which beforehand was the armed wing of the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement and still is in the course of evolving into a regular army. However, the transformation is still experiencing critical problems such as the lack of a comprehensive strategic defense strategy.
South Sudan’s trading with Uganda has been the biggest over the years with bilateral exports from Uganda at around $60 million back in 2005 to about $635 million three years after in 2008. The trades between these two countries are highly unequal with the number of exports from Uganda being excessively larger than the exports from Sudan going to Uganda. The major reason behind this is the lack of local production from South Sudan. In 2009, trade between the countries has declines due to the import control executed by the Central Bank of Sudan due to issues of foreign exchange reserves. Trade conflicts formed between the two countries but a Trade Dispute Arbitration Committee was made to resolve these disagreements.
South Sudan oil reserves have sustained the country’s economy since the late 1990s. However, upon its independence in July 2011, northern and southern negotiators were unable to instantly settle an agreement on how to divide the revenue from the oilfields of South Sudan. An estimation of about 80% untapped oil deposit of the whole Sudan is located in South Sudan. According to CPA or the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the oil revenues were divided equally for the time of the agreement interval. Oil revenues make up for more than 98% of South Sudan’s budget and in return these oilfields have yielded about $8 million in revenue since the adoption of the peace arrangement.
Vice president Riek Machar discussed with Ambassador Barrie Walkley, a top US diplomat, the need for foreign investment to be able to realize the high expectations of the whole region after its independence. Although the country is currently one of the world’s poorest countries, it has great potential with its promising resources such as oil, agriculture inter alia. It will be virtually impossible for the country to take a turnaround without the help of foreign investors. There is a need to change the entire system the country has been on for its existence.
According to Vice President Machar, the plans of action of the government is to privatize key infrastructures such as airports situated all over the country, tarmacs and road networks connecting the entire region, rail transits, housing projects, hospitals, supplies of water, electricity, pipelines, among many others. Concerns, however, come from the impact of corruption within the country. The said project is obviously an enormous feat to be accomplished, however, with support from the international community and investors alike, it could be a reality soon enough. But with the continuous improvement within the government being extremely pursued, South Sudan can have a conductive environment for potential investors.
The entire South Sudanese government conveyed great optimism with their country as geographically it is the center of Africa, it could soon become the “hub” of the entire continent.
Principally, South Sudan’s economy is based on subsistence agriculture. The country’s finance sector is still growing with microcredit and microfinance institutions such as the Savannah Farmers Cooperation, Sudan Microfinance Initiative, Finance Sudan and the Bangladesh Rural Cooperation. South Sudan has 30 agricultural as well as commercial investment banks operating under the directives of the BoSS of the Bank of South Sudan (DiPiazza 2006).
South Sudan has a great agricultural capacity or potential. Of its total land area, more than half is projected to be apt for agriculture. Aside from mangoes, other agricultural products in the country include cotton, wheat, millet, groundnuts, pineapple, sugarcane, pawpaw, sweet potatoes, sesame, and cassava. There is in estimate around 8 million cattle managed by the pastoralists in the indigenous communities. There are also donkeys, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, and other animals. About 29% of South Sudan comprises of woodlands and natural forests. At present only natural mahogany, gum Arabic, and teak are the only products commercially developed. In spite of the large water resources in South Sudan, commercial fishing has yet to be fully developed. Some of the fish species found in the country are mudfish, catfish, tilapia, lungfish, electric fish, and moon fish.
At present the biggest manufacturing plant in the country is the Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd. It is the major producer of soft drinks and beer in the country. Other manufactured goods like timber, cement, fruit, textile, and sugar were washed out during the war. Agro-based industrialization has been the priority of The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Sudan. Their concentration lies on production of livestock products, cereal processing, and fruit processing.
The economy of South Sudan is one of the world’s most underdeveloped and weakest. Majority of the villages in the country have no clean running water and electricity. The public health sector is at worst with people not getting adequate health support from the government.
South Sudan clearly needs to embrace economic globalization. It’s essential for South Sudan to improve its technology system as nowadays technology plays a huge if not the most important role in a country’s development. Technology will enhance all sectors of the country including the banking and finance systems, education, and even the economy. South Sudan must adjust its policies to acquire higher forms of technology for their development. South Sudan must begin training its people to become computer literate and security professionals.
International trading allows countries and the consumers, opportunities to be exposed products and services not available in their own nations. There’s a wide variety of products open for trading in the international market. In order for South Sudan’s economy to be fully developed, free trade shall play an important role. Trade helps in growing an economy. Major markets that the South Sudan has penetrated so far include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea.