South Sudan: Prospects for Peace and Development - International Development Committee Contents

2  Background

Key statistics

6. South Sudan is the size of France yet has a dispersed population of eight million people. It the fifth largest economy in East Africa, but has by far the highest GDP (US $1,546 in 2010) and GNI (US$984) per capita rates (see Table 1). The relatively high rates in 2010 are largely explained by South Sudan's oil exports.[2] About 40% of government expenditure is defence-related,[3] whilst expenditure on the health and education sectors is limited (7% and 4% respectively).[4]

Table 1: Key statistics
South Sudan: Key statistics
Area (Thousands of km2) 644.3 sq. km
Total population 8.26 million
% of population less than 18 years of age 51%
% of population less than 30 years of age 72%
% of population literate 27%
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita (2010) US$ 1,546
Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (2010) US$ 984
Government budget (2010)[5] US$ 2.4bn
Oil revenues as % of total revenues 98%

Source: Republic of South Sudan National Bureau for Statistics ; Government of the Republic of South Sudan

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals

7. South Sudan faces significant challenges in making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (see Table 2). Although it has improved in certain areas, such as education enrolment, other areas are lagging significantly. Eight out of ten people live on an equivalent of less than one $1 (63p) per day. Six out of every ten have no access to any form of health care. The maternal mortality rate is the highest in the world.[6]

Table 2: South Sudan's progress towards the Millennium Development Goals
MDG Summary

Poverty and hunger

In South Sudan, chronic hunger was reduced from 48% to 33% between 1995 and 2004. However 50.6% of the population lives below the national poverty line.

Universal primary education

Net enrolment in primary school was 46% in 2010, but far fewer children complete all eight years. The qualified teacher to children ratio is 1:117.

Gender equality

Girls make up only 36.9% of primary school enrolment. One positive development is that 34% of all seats in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly are held by women.

Child mortality

There has been a decrease in under-five mortality from 250 per 1,000 live births (2001) to 135 per 1,000 (2006).

Maternal health

South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world—2,054 per 100,000 live births: there is a one in seven chance of a woman dying of pregnancy related causes. Currently there is one qualified midwife per 30,000 people.


HIV prevalence among the 15-24 yr population was 3.1 in 2006. Malaria is hyper-endemic.[7]

Environmental sustainability

Access to safe water and sanitation rose from 47% in 2006 to 67% in 2010 and from 6% to 14% respectively.

Source: UN Development Programme

2   Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the value of all final goods and services produced in a country over a given period. Gross National Income (GNI) is the primary income received by residents of a geographical area (primary income is income received from production of goods and services as salaries or profits). "Release of first GDP and GNI figures for South Sudan", South Sudan National Bureau of Statistics press release, 11 August 2011. Ev 70 [DFID]. Back

3   In the years 2006-2010, 40% of central government expenditure was allocated to conflict prevention and security. According to DFID, the Ministry of Defence and Sudan People's Liberation Army budget accounts for 35% of the total budget in the latest 2012-13 circular. Government of the Republic of South Sudan, South Sudan Development Plan 2011-13, August 2011, p 29. Ev 101 [DFID]. Back

4   2011 allocations (prior to the austerity budget introduced in March 2012). Government of Southern Sudan, 2011 Budget Speech [by H.E. David Deng Athorbei], January 2011. No definitive figures on 2011 expenditure were available at the time of publication of this report.  Back

5   No definitive figures for expenditure in 2010 or 2011 were available at the time of publication of this Report. For 2011 the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly approved a budget of $2.1bn in March 2011, although this was expected to increase due to independence and referendum-related expenditure. Austerity measures were introduced in early 2012 due to the implications of South Sudan ceasing its oil production (see Chapter 3). In March 2012 the Government of South Sudan proposed an austerity budget of about 3.45bn South Sudanese pounds (SSP) for the February to June 2012 period. This means that the total draft budget for 2011-12 amounts to about 9.39 SSP.  Back

6   Ev 60-61 [DFID] Back

7   Meaning prevalence is between 51% and 75% of the population. Back

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Prepared 12 April 2012