South Sudan is currently ranked 169 out of 188 nations on the Human Development Index Scale developed by the UN. This is one of the lowest developed countries, only behind countries like Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Chad, and Niger (“Human Development Reports”). South Sudan’s developmental problems, like most poorly developed countries, stem back through different historical, political, and environmental problems. Currently, some of the reasons that Sudan is poorly developed are that it’s government is extremely corrupt, it has poor disease management and access to health care, poor educational standards, poor infrastructure, and has a low average income.
Current Status Of Country’s Development
At the start of the independence of the country, South Sudan faced many difficulties when it comes to development. Just to name a few:
• “The education ministry barely has a functioning computer” (The Guardian, Bunting) This shows the poor technological standards the country has.
• “The world’s worst maternal mortality rate” (The Guardian, Bunting) and “a fifth of all children are acutely malnourished” (The Guardian, Bunting). These show the poor health and poor quality of life among the South Sudanese people.
• “Only 10% complete primary school” (The Guardian, Bunting) This shows the prevalence of poor educational standards.
• “Thousands of people were killed and more than 100,000 displaced” (The Guardian, Bunting) because of the tensions that are still present from the different conflicts and from the former civil war. Also, “most people still live in constant daily threat of violence” (The Guardian, Bunting) This shows the poor quality of life among them.
• South Sudan is practically a rentier state because of its dependency on oil revenue. “90% of this new country’s revenue comes from oil, and the estimates for how long the oil will last vary from eight to 22 years depending on rates of extraction. The best guess is that South Sudan has about 10 to 12 years to diversify its economy.” (The Guardian, Bunting)
• “Transparency and accountability for natural resources is already woefully inadequate” (The Guardian, Bunting) This shows the poor governance, a sign of poor development.
• South Sudan does not have a plan for having set donors and a plan for said donors.
• Infrastructure is extremely poor with the lack of simple necessities and technologies such as roads.
Currently, South Sudan displays many characteristics of being an underdeveloped nation and being a nation of poverty. Like the reasons why the HDI is low, this list is quite long as well. It includes:
• “The population is a very young one, with 16% of the population under the age of 5, 32% under the age of 10, 51% under the age of 18 and 72% of the population under the age of 30” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “27% of the 15 years and above population is literate.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Only 37% of the population above the age of six has ever attended school” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “55% of the population has access to improved sources of drinking water.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “80% of the population does not have access to any toilet facility” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Infant Mortality Rate is 102 (per 1000 live births)” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Under 5 Mortality Rate is 135 (per 1000 live births).” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Maternal Mortality Rate is 2054 (per 100,000 live births)” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “17% of children were fully immunized.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “83% of the population live in tukuls” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “38% of the population has to walk for more than 30 minutes one way to collect drinking water” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “50% of the population use firewood or grass as the primary source of lighting. 27% have no lighting at all.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “96% of the population uses firewood or charcoal as the primary fuel for cooking” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “15% of households own a phone.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Average per capita consumption in Southern Sudan is 100 Sudanese Pounds (SDG) per person per month” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “51% of the population is below the poverty line.” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “Northern Bahr El Ghazal has the highest rate of poverty at 76%, and Up- per Nile the lowest, at 26%” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
• “78% of households depend on crop farming or animal husbandry as their primary source of livelihood” (Key Indicators for Southern Sudan)
Causes of Underdevelopment
South Sudan was at a disadvantage with development coming from gaining its independence. After coming out of the Civil War and gaining independence from Sudan on July 9th 2011, the country was under a blanket of praise and happiness from those who supported the strive for independence however was immediately taken aback by its neglect of simple necessities. This stems from a multitude of sources that include colonialism, corruption, and conflicts. The country simply lacks things like infrastructure and stable government.
Historians believed that there are two outcomes of colonization: the first was positive if disease was not rampant in the colony. The thought behind this was that because of the facility with living, colonizers could take the time and create positive economic institutions. This was not the case with Sudan; they second outcome was negative if disease was rampant throughout the country. If disease was taking over the lives of the colonizers, they would not have the manpower necessary to create these economic institutions nor would they have the time because they were fighting these diseases. As with many African nations, disease was very difficult to handle for the colonizers and the economic institutions were not put in place. Other than this theory, it was clear that the British colonial period had left a negative impact on South Sudan on account of the way the British "set-up" the country. "South Sudan and other peripheries of the old Sudan increasingly felt that this cultural, ethnic and racial exclusion was the basis for exclusion from the distribution of economic assets, services and political power" (South Sudan, Embassy). With the British creating a massive disadvantage economically, socially, and politically, South Sudan was at a disadvantage with its development.
Corruption and conflicts have played a major role in the establishment of the low HDI in South Sudan as well. Because corruption is spread through every part of the country from the judicial system to the natural sources sector, it is very difficult to figure out a way to safely manage any sort of positive economic achievement. Coming from the decade-long conflict as well, tensions have risen throughout the country, promoting bias in the country's government.
History of Development Attempts
With the uniqueness of the youth of the country, South Sudan has not had many opportunities to rejuvenate the economy and reboot its development. However, there have been proposals since the very origination of the country (on account of its disadvantages) to promote development.
The South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP) is as follows:
“As an initial overarching framework for nation building, the SSDP is designed to inspire all actors to work together on delivering a shared development agenda for the benefit of the South Sudanese people. The SSDP also guides the international community in targeting its support to the new Republic of South Sudan. Based on the theme ‘Realising freedom, equality, justice, peace and prosperity for all’, the SSDP pursues four key objectives:
1. Governance: build a democratic, transparent, and accountable Government, managed by a professional and committed public service, with an effective balance of power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
2. Economic development: facilitate diversified private sector-led economic growth and sustainable development which improves livelihoods and reduces poverty
3. Social and human development: promote the well-being and dignity of all the people of South Sudan by progressively accelerating universal access to basic social services, in particular health and education.
4. Conflict prevention and security: defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of South Sudan, prevent the resurgence of conflict and uphold the constitution by providing equitable access to justice and maintaining law and order through institutions which are transparent, accountable and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.” (Development Plan)
Because of the instability of the country coming from 50 years of conflict with the addition of corruption within all sectors of the government, many countries and donors and hesitant to donate money to the country. This is with reason; with no previous incentive, why should they donate? With this in mind, the World Bank had donated to the country, with $800 million just in 2005 (before the country even originated). As displaced by the video below, some improvements to infrastructure have been made, with roads finally being paved, and the diversification of the economy to the agricultural sector has been slowly growing.
Policy Suggestions to Encourage Development
The way in which South Sudan should grow to pursue development in all sectors of development would be through diversifying the economy to strengthen the agricultural sector, continuing the SSDP program, and decreasing corruption in the government.
• Through the diversification of the economy, the South Sudanese people would have to rely less on the economic backing of the oil. Oil profits will continuously be decreasing throughout the years of the country’s progressive growth. Having the agricultural sector grow, a sector that is promising, would promote normal economic flow throughout the market places, etc. Having the normal flow of money would slowly increase the economic standing of the country. After this development, they could increase international exporting of these agricultural products, a sure sign of development. This would be accomplished by having the government cutting spending to the oil industry and increasing spending to the agricultural sector.
• The SSDP program, although started at the beginning of the country’s development to ensure growth to the start of the country, could continue to development of the country. Continuing the 4 steps of this program would not only reform the country in the four previously mentioned sections, also promote the trust in the country, a current problem with the South Sudanese people. Like the previous action, this would be implemented by the government making a public political campaign and implementing the different referendums that are imposed in this policy.
• Lastly, the plan of decreasing the corruption in the government would be extremely important in the country. Other than increasing the public moral with the government, which would popularize the government and spark social development, having a more transparent and less corrupt government would prompt more donors to help South Sudan. With the reliability of South Sudan increased, donors would be more willing to help donate more money to help with features like infrastructure (which have already proven to be affective). This would be implemented by different private, non-South Sudanese governmental organizations. With their aid, and non-bias, they would be able to find the specific problems that have caused the long-rooted corruption in the government.
Bunting, Madeleine. "South Sudan: The World's Biggest Development Challenge | Madeleine Bunting." Poverty Matters Blog. Guardian News and Media, 18 July 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jul/18/south-sudan-development-challenges>.
"Development Plan." Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Government of the Republic of South Sudan, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://grss-mof.org/south-sudan-development-plan/>.
E.V., Transparency International. "Corruption Perceptions Index 2016." Www.transparency.org. Transparency International, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016>.
Gan. "South Sudan Corruption Report." GANBACP. GAN INTEGRITY INC., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://www.business-anti-corruption.com/country-profiles/south-sudan>.
"Human Development Reports." | Human Development Reports. United Nations Development Program, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries>.
"Key Indicators for Southern Sudan." Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation (n.d.): n. pag. 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTSUDAN/Resources/Key-Indicators-SS.pdf>.
"South Sudan." Sudan and South Sudan (n.d.): n. pag. A Short History of South Sudan. Embassy of The Republic of South Sudan in Washington DC, 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://www.southsudanembassydc.org/PDFs/ShortHistory.pdf>.
"UN Outlines Extent of Development Challenges Facing South Sudan after Independence." UN News Center. United Nations, 19 July 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39085#.WK-E3bGZMlU>.