South Sudan’s development challenges are daunting. This region, historically within the Sudanese provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile but now divided into the 10 southern states of Sudan, is home to over 110 ethnic groups, many of whom suffer from some of the world’s worst socio-economic conditions. It was engulfed in Africa’s longest-running conflict—two phases of civil war spanning nearly 40 years and ending with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on January 9, 2005. The interim period of the CPA is set to expire in July 2011, six months after a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan; the southern referendum took place January 9-15, 2011, and resulted in an overwhelming approval of the secession option. A separate referendum for the region of Abyei is also required under the CPA.
Last updated: October 23, 2013