• Economic Overview

    The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation and Africa’s 55th country on July 9, 2011, following a peaceful secession from the Sudan through a referendum in January 2011. As a new nation, South Sudan has the dual challenge of dealing with the legacy of more than 50 years of conflict and continued instability, along with huge development needs. Formal institutions are being built from a very low base and the capacity of government to formulate policy and implement programs is limited, but growing. South Sudan also has significant oil wealth, which if effectively used to drive development, could provide the basis for progress in the coming years.

    The renewed conflict, in South Sudan is undermining development gains achieved since independence and worsened the humanitarian situation. Without conflict resolution and a framework for peace and security, the country’s longer-term development and prosperity are threatened. 

    Although South Sudan has vast and largely untapped natural resources, beyond a few oil enclaves, it remains relatively undeveloped, characterized by a subsistence economy. South Sudan is the most oil-dependent country in the world, with oil accounting for almost the totality of exports, and around 60%  of its gross domestic product (GDP). On current reserve estimates, oil production is expected to reduce steadily in future years and to become negligible by 2035.

    The country’s growth domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2014 was $1,111. Outside the oil sector, livelihoods are concentrated in low productive, unpaid agriculture and pastoralists work, accounting for around 15% of GDP. In fact, 85% of the working population is engaged in non-wage work, chiefly in agriculture (78%).

    The current conflict has had a significant financial impact on South Sudan with 2015/16 GDP contracting by 6.3%. With oil production disruptions and below-average agriculture production, the economy is expected to contract further in FY2016/02017, while fiscal and current account deficits will soar, spiraling domestic prices and the parallel market premium. Extreme poverty rate has increased to 65.9%. Avoiding protracted crisis requires recommitment to a political settlement and major fiscal adjustment.

    Export revenues decreased due to declining oil prices and lower oil production. Oil production is expected to decrease to about 120,000 barrel per day this fiscal year down from 165,000 barrels per day in 2014 and a peak of 350,000 barrels per day before independence in 2011. The decline in oil revenue, has also had a negative impact on macro-budgetary indicators, requiring austere fiscal adjustments. The current account has deteriorated considerably leading to depreciation of the parallel exchange rate and fueling inflation. The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) depreciated on the parallel market from SSP 18.5 per dollar in December 2015 to reach almost SSP 80 per dollar by end September, 2016. South Sudan is now in hyperinflation. The annual inflation increased by 661.3% from July 2015 to July 2016 and by 730% from August 2015 to August 2016. Relative prices of food have increased and food shortages and hunger are the most alarming signal of the country's larger economic collapse. Rising food prices have put many households in both urban and rural areas in a very difficult position, as they are unable to afford the minimum food basket. According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), the Central Bank has no reserves and the limited oil and non-oil revenues are spent on defense and security loans. The incidence of poverty has also worsened, from 44.7% in 2011 to 65.9% in 2015, with a corresponding increase in the depth of poverty.

    The country is very young with two-thirds of the population under the age of 30. The 2009 national Baseline Household Survey also reveals that the country faces several human development challenges. Only 27% of the population aged 15 years and above is literate, with significant gender disparities: the literacy rate for males is 40% compared to 16% for females. The infant mortality rate is 105 (per 1,000 live births), maternal mortality rate is 2,054 (per 100,000 live births), and only 17% of children are fully immunized. 55% of the population has access to improved sources of drinking water. Around 38% of the population has to walk for more than 30 minutes one way to collect drinking water, and some 80% of South Sudanese do not have access to any toilet facility.

    The country had begun to post improved results, particularly in health and primary education in the years following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the resumption of oil flows in 2013 was expected to boost economic growth significantly. However, the impact of the conflict on the population and the breakdown in services continue to have deep economic and social consequences for a country where human development is already among the worst in the world.

    Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016

  • The World Bank has been engaged since the conclusion of the North-South Agreement in 2005 and the creation of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan. After independence, in April 2012, South Sudan became a member of the World Bank Group (the World Bank) and an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) was approved by the Board to cover the years FY2013-14. The resumption of conflict, however, was a critical set-back to the country program in particular and for development in general.

    Following the signing of the Agreement and the formation of the TG, the World Bank started preparing a Country Engagement Note (CEN) to describe the World Bank’s intervention covering a period of 24 months (FY17-FY18). A Systematic Country Diagnostic has preceded the preparation of this CEN (presented to the Board in October 2015). Management has decided that a CEN is an appropriate strategy vehicle; based on the general insecurity (the movement of World Bank staff beyond the capital is severely restricted) as well as the uncertainty of the transition. However, the resumption of conflict in July 2016 has delayed the preparation of the CEN for South Sudan and the Team will continue to monitor the security situation in the country before re-starting the discussions on preparing the CEN.

    Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016

  • Before the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, the World Bank Group (WBG) administered the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF-SS), which laid a framework for national development with tangible results across all major sectors of the economy. The MDTF-SS was mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and closed in June 2013, having disbursed almost $780 million on 21 projects across the country. During this time, the WBG also undertook knowledge and analytical work across key areas of the economy.

    The MDTF-SS achieved significant progress in providing development benefits to the people and building basic project management capacity in line ministries. Tangible results were achieved in providing clean water and hygiene training, building schools and delivering textbooks, supporting farmer groups, providing vocational training and assistance to micro-enterprises, and rehabilitating government buildings. The MDTF-SS also specifically promoted the economic empowerment of women in all 10 states by providing start-up grants to women entrepreneurs and community organizations working with women. As revealed in a stakeholder survey, the most appreciated contribution of the MDTF-SS was building supervision and implementation capacities in core government bodies and line ministries. This capacity was built through the MDTF-SS financed Core Fiduciary Systems Support Project, the External Audit Agent Project, and the Procurement Project.

    In addition to the MDTF, South Sudan Transitional Trust Fund (SSTTF) was established following South Sudan’s independence in 2011, and pending its membership in the WBG. Administered by the International Development Association (IDA), the SSTTF approved and funded three operations in 2012 aimed at delivering quick impact and building institutions. These were the South Sudan Rapid Results Health Project, the South Sudan Private Sector Development Project, and the South Sudan Rural Roads Project, as well as the South Sudan Emergency Food Crisis Response Project, funded by the Global Food Crisis Response Fund. The following year, two International Development Association (IDA) projects, the Local Governance and Service Delivery Project and Safety Net and Skills Development Project, were approved.

    In 2014, the WBG Board of Directors approved two additional financing projects for the Rapid Results Health ($35 million) and the Emergency Food Crisis Response ($9 million). The Rapid Results Health Project responds to the humanitarian crisis in the most conflict-affected states of Jonglei and Upper Nile, providing emergency care for internally displaced persons (IDPs), women, and children. The WBG Board of Directors within the same year approved the South Sudan Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project and Statistical Capacity Building Project. At present, there are seven active investment projects in South Sudan with a total commitment amount of nearly $170 million. 

    1. South Sudan Health Rapid Results Project and Additional Financing ($75 million)
    2. Food Crisis and Response Project and Additional Financing ($2.2 million)
    3. Local Governance and Service Delivery Project ($56.97 million)
    4. Safety Net and Skills Development Project ($21 million)
    5. Statistical Capacity Building Project ($9 million)
    6. South Sudan Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project ($80 million)
    7. South Sudan- Youth Business Support  ($3 million) 

    Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016

  • Development partners have played a major role in South Sudan over the past seven years. Their commitments have totaled about $4.5 billion, excluding $4 billion in contributions to United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeeping for the same period. Funding modalities have varied, with 19% of donor funding allocated to pooled funds through 2011. The World Bank Group (WBG) has been working closely with development partners through the WBG-administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund – South Sudan (MDTF-SS), the largest of five pooled funds.

    With the closing of the MDTF-SS in 2013, majority of the assistance took the form of bilateral aid. More recently, due to the outbreak of the conflict, international assistance from development partners has focused primarily on humanitarian aid and peace building and reconciliation efforts, while continuing with delivery of essential social services at the community level, implemented primarily through multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations. Following the Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA), development partners are now reevaluating their engagement in the country to explore the best ways in which they can support the effective implementation of the CPA, while continuing with humanitarian assistance and essential services to the people of South Sudan.

    A Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) was approved in October 2015 and the Country Partnership Framework is scheduled for discussion in late FY16. The newly-introduced SCD seeks to identify the key constraints and opportunities facing the country in achieving adequate progress toward the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable way. The SCD was conducted in consultation with the government authorities, main development partners, and other key local stakeholders.  Following the SCD, CMU embarked on preparation of a Country Engagement Note (CEN) which will replace the current ISN. 

    Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016



South Sudan: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Ministries Complex
CPA Road
Juba, South Sudan
For general information and inquiries
Gelila Woodeneh
Communications Officer
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
+(251) 115176000
For project-related issues and complaints