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  • The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation and Africa’s 55th country on July 9, 2011. Renewed conflicts in December 2013 and July 2016 have undermined the development gains achieved since independence and worsened the humanitarian situation. As a consequence, South Sudan remains caught in a web of fragility, economic stagnation, and instability a decade after independence. Poverty is ubiquitous and has been reinforced by a history of conflict, displacement, and shocks.

    The signing of the latest truce in September 2018 and subsequent formation of a unity government in February 2020 had provided hope for recovery and peace building. Conflict events decreased significantly  in 2019, allowing some refugees previously dispersed in the region to return.  At the same time, a resumption of oil production in oil fields previously shutdown due to conflict had raised hopes for an oil-led recovery. However, the country faces the risk of reversal of these gains, with increasing incidents of subnational violence in 2020 and COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic exacerbating an already dire situation.

    South Sudan remains in a serious humanitarian crisis due to the cumulative effects of years of conflict which has destroyed people’s livelihoods. Extreme levels of acute food insecurity persist across the country and nearly more than 6 million (about half of the population) are facing crisis-level food insecurity, with 1.4 million children under 5 years expected to be actutely malnourished in 2021. Almost 4 million people remain displaced by the humanitarian crisis, with nearly 1.6 million people displaced internally and some 2.2 million refugees in six neighboring countries. Women and children continue to be the most affected.  In 2020,  communities were hit hard by the triple shock of intensified conflict and sub-national violence, a second consecutive year of major flooding, and the impacts of COVID-19, exacerbating an already dire  humanitarian situation.

    Insecurity, lack of basic services, and unresolved housing, land and property issues prevented people from returning home in large numbers. Some 8.3 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021. These include 8,000,000 nationals and 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers. This is an 800,000 increase in absolute numbers from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020. The increase in needs is largely driven by the rising food insecurity.

    As recent events have shown, the South Sudan economy is especially vulnerable to weather, oil price, and conflict related shocks.  The economy had picked up strongly before the COVID-19 pandemic, with gross domestic product (GDP) real growth reaching 9.5% in FY2019/20. The oil sector has continued to be the primary driver of growth, with estimated oil production of 62.1 million barrels in FY2019/20, representing a 26.5% increase on the 49.1 million barrels realized in FY2018/19. In the agricultural sector, cultivated area increased by 6% in 2020 compared to the previous year, but it is still far from reaching the pre-conflict levels. However, living standards deteriorated as the pandemic disrupted livelihoods. High-frequency surveys conducted in June 2020 showed that 51.2% of respondents reported reduced earnings from their main income source. The situation has since improved somewhat, with 50.7% of the respondents reporting reduced incomes by October 2020.

    Expenditures on key social sectors including health, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture and rural development are limited. Consequently, poverty levels are expected to remain extremely high on the back of severe food insecurity and limited access to basic services across the country. About 82% of the population in South Sudan is poor according to the most recent estimates, based on the $1.90 2011 purchasing power parity poverty line.

    The main priority for the government is to address the underlying causes of the conflict and stabilize the economy . The authorities have accelerated dialogue on key reforms intended to cushion the economy amidst a double health and economic crisis. The current reform dialogue has centered on public financial management reforms. These include the formation of an oversight committee for Public Financial Management Reform Strategy (PFMRS) and its governance structures, as well as a technical committee on the economy whose role is to advise on ways to diversify both sources of growth and revenue. Given the necessity of these reforms, are critical, and may have to be accompanied by wider economic management reforms in the medium term.

    Last Updated: Apr 02, 2021

  • 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 and an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) was endorsed by the Board to cover the years FY2013-14. The resumption of conflict, however, was a critical setback to the country program and for development in general.

    Following the signing of a peace agreement and the formation of the Transitional Unity Government in 2015 which aimed to end the 2013 internal conflict, the World Bank started preparing a Country Engagement Note (CEN) to guide its intervention in the country over a period of 24 months (FY2018-19). While, the resumption of conflict in July 2016 delayed its preparation, the CEN was finalized and endorsed by the Board of Executive Directors on January 16, 2018.

    The CEN was informed by the findings of a 2015 Systematic Country Diagnostic which identified the key constraints and opportunities facing the country in achieving adequate progress toward the WBG’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable way. Its design involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders and took into consideration the comparative advantage of World Bank engagement in South Sudan. 

    The aims of the CEN are to respond to the current crisis and support stabilization, recovery, and peace where opportunities arise. The World Bank engagement strategy in South Sudan comprises two objectives: (i) Support basic service provision for vulnerable populations and (ii) Support to livelihoods, food security, and basic economic recovery.

    The FY18 –19 CEN will effectively be replaced by a new Country Engagement Note FY21-22, that is currently under preparation and that will guide WBG engagement in South Sudan for a 24-month period.

    Last Updated: Apr 02, 2021

  • Below is a selection of recent World Bank accomplishments in South Sudan:

    • Expanded basic infrastructure to enhance local service delivery: Built 69 primary health care units; 142 classroom blocks in 60 primary schools; three primary access roads of about 180 km; 105 boreholes, 3 local markets and 1 livestock market.
    • Supported livelihoods and generating early economic recovery: Provided 53,163 households with access to income opportunities and temporary employment through public works aimed at building community assets. Of these, 74.0% were female.
    • Delivered high impact healthcare services to  1,844,090 people Jonglei and Upper Nile: 250,446 women and children received basic nutrition services; 18,367 births attended by skilled health personnel and 258,037children immunized

    As of February 2021, the South Sudan portfolio stands at $ 195.4 million (credits and grants).

    The portfolio also comprises a range of Analytical and Advisory Services to build a robust evidence base for programming, to manage and mitigate risks and to promote peacebuilding, recovery and stabilization in South Sudan.

    Last Updated: Apr 02, 2021

  • Development partners have played a major role in South Sudan for the past several 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 and following two conflict outbreaks in December 2013 and July 2016, the World Bank developed flexible and innovative programs to prevent a complete deterioration of livelihoods and maintain essential services for the people of South Sudan by identifying and targeting those most in need. The bulk of the Bank’s support is currently delivered in partnership with UN agencies with extensive presence across the country.

    World Bank is also an active member of the Partnership for Recovery and Resilience (PfRR) in South Sudan and intends to contribute towards re-establishing delivery of basic services and restore productive capacities of communities affected by the conflict.

    Last Updated: Apr 02, 2021



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
Sr. External Affairs Officer
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
+(251) 115176000
For project-related issues and complaints