Africa’s Youngest Nation
The Republic of South Sudan got its independence in 2011, making it the most recent sovereign nation globally. It was formerly an autonomous region in the Republic of Sudan. Shortly a war broke out within the country as rival power groups battled the government.
In 2011 it was reported that South Sudan was at war with at least seven armed groups in 9 of its ten states, with tens of thousands displaced. The fighters accuse the government of plotting to stay in power indefinitely, not representing and supporting all tribal groups while neglecting development in rural areas.
Independence and Tribes
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became the 54th independent country in Africa, and since July 14, 2011, South Sudan is the 193rd member of the United Nations. In July 2011, South Sudan became the 54th country to join the African Union.
Dinka is the largest ethnic group, Nuer the second largest, the Zande the third-largest, and the Bari the fourth-largest of South Sudan’s ethnic groups. They are found in the Maridi, Yambio, and Tombura districts in the tropical rainforest belt of Western Equatoria, the Adio of Azande client in Yei, Central Equatoria, and Western Bahr el Ghazal.
National Parks and Conservation
South Sudan has a mainly rural and subsistence economy.
The country’s protected area of Bandingilo National Park hosts the second-largest wildlife migration in the world. Surveys have revealed that Boma National Park, west of the Ethiopian border, and the Sudd wetland and Southern National Park near the border with Congo, provided habitat for large populations of hartebeest, kob, topi, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, and lions.
South Sudan’s forest reserves also provided habitat for bongo, giant forest hogs, red river hogs, forest elephants, chimpanzees, and forest monkeys. Surveys began in 2005 by WCS in partnership with the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan government revealed significant, though diminished wildlife populations still exist. That, astonishingly, the massive migration of 1.3 million antelopes in the southeast is substantially intact.
Habitats in the country include grasslands, high-altitude plateaus and escarpments, wooded and grassy savannas, floodplains, and wetlands. Associated wildlife species include the endemic white-eared kob and Nile Lechwe and elephants, giraffes, common eland, giant eland, oryx, lions, African wild dogs, cape buffalo, and topi (locally called tiang). Little is known about the white-eared kob and tiang, both antelope types, whose magnificent migrations were legendary before the civil war. The Boma-Jonglei Landscape region encompasses Boma National Park, broad pasturelands and floodplains, Bandingilo National Park, and the Sudd, a vast area of swamp and seasonally flooded grasslands that includes the Zeraf Wildlife Reserve.
Juba is the capital and largest city. The city is situated on the White Nile and also serves as the capital of Central Equatoria State. It is the newest capital city with a population of 525,953 in 2017.
Languages and Religion
The official language of South Sudan is English, but there are over 60 indigenous languages, most classified under the Nilo-Saharan Language family; collectively, they represent two of the first-order divisions of Nile Sudanic and Central Sudanic.
Religions followed by the South Sudanese include traditional indigenous religions, Christianity and Islam.
Natural Resources and Tourism
The economy of South Sudan is one of the most oil-dependent economies in the world. Despite being endowed with bountiful natural resources, including very fertile agricultural land and vast livestock, including millions of cattle, sheep, and goats. Political instability, poor governance, and corruption continue to hinder development in the world’s youngest country.
South Sudan exports timber to the international market. Some of the states with the best-known teak and natural trees for wood are Western Equatoria and Central Equatoria. There are teak plantations located at Kegulu; the other, oldest planted forest reserves are Kawale, Lijo, Loka West, and Nuni. Western Equatoria timber resources include scuba trees at Zamora.
One of the significant natural features of South Sudan is the River Nile, whose many tributaries have sources in the country. The region also contains many natural resources such as petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, and hydropower. The country’s economy, as in many other developing countries, is heavily dependent on agriculture. Some of the agricultural products include cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, and sesame.
South Sudan has the world’s second-largest animal migration. It, therefore, is considered the right place for ecotourism. Still, the lack of infrastructure for tourism and civil unrest are considered the challenges for the tourism industry in South Sudan.