South Sudan

Sekondi Accra

South Sudan became a sovereign state on 9 July 2011 and Salva Kiir Mayardit is the president. He is a former rebel commander who has guided his homeland of Southern Sudan through multiple challenges since a 2005 peace deal ended two decades of war with the north. President Mayardit is closely aligned to the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), a predominantly southern Sudanese rebel movement and political party. It is composed of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and its political wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Based in Southern Sudan, SPLA/M fought in the Second Sudanese Civil War against the Sudanese government from 1983 to 2005. In 1989, it joined the main opposition group in Sudan, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which in January 2005 signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Sudanese government. SPLA/M has since had representatives in the Government of Sudan, and was the main constituent of the Government of the then semi-autonomous Southern Sudan.

Long based on subsistence agriculture, South Sudan's economy is now highly oil-dependent. While an estimated 75% of all the former Sudan's oil reserves are in South Sudan, the refineries and the pipeline to the Red Sea are in Sudan. Under the 2005 accord, South Sudan received 50% of Sudan's oil proceeds, which provide the vast bulk of the country's budget. But that arrangement is set to expire with independence. Despite the oil wealth, South Sudan is one of Africa's least developed countries. However, the years since the 2005 peace accord ushered in an economic revival and investment in utilities and other infrastructure.

Alongside the oil issue, several border disputes with Sudan continue to strain ties. The main row is over border region of Abyei, where a referendum for the residents to decide whether to join south or north has been delayed over voter eligibility.

The conflict is rooted in a dispute over land between farmers of the pro-South Sudan Dinka Ngok people and cattle-herding Misseriya Arab tribesmen. Another source of conflict is the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan's South Kordofan state, where violence continues between the largely Christian and pro-SPLA Nuba people and northern government forces.

Inside South Sudan, several rebel forces opposed to the SPLM-dominated government have appeared, including the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) of Peter Gadet and a force led former SPLA general George Athor. Juba the new country's capital, states these forces are funded by Sudan, which denies the accusation.


Official Data

South Sudan/President

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Sudan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: (202) 338-8565; fax: (202) 667-2406); and a Consular Office at 2612 Woodley Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: (202) 232-1492; fax: (202) 232-1494). The regional Government of Southern Sudan maintains a liaison office in the United States at 1233 20th St. NW, Suite 602, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: (202) 293-7940; fax: (202) 293-7941).
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