Violence and poverty in South Sudan
South Sudan became independent in 2011 after a prolonged conflict. Although the new country was blessed with international good will, considerable foreign aid, and vast oil wealth, it nevertheless faced formidable development challenges, with 51% of the population living in poverty. Soon after independence, the country encountered successive crises, which resulted in a large-scale of conflict combined with a severe macroeconomic crisis.
Towards the of 2017, nearly 4.5 million people had been forced from their homes due to violence and poverty this is more than a third of the country’s population. Protracted insecurity and large-scale displacement have taken a huge toll on livelihoods, and private consumption has been consistently falling since the onset of the civil war. Against this backdrop of ongoing violence, the South Sudanese economy is experiencing a severe contraction, driven by falling oil revenues and conflict-related disruptions of economic production.
The poverty headcount jumped from 51% to 82% between 2009 and 2016, meaning that the vast majority of the population was living under the international poverty line of $1.90 (PPP 2011) per day in 2016. This number includes a massive single-year jump of 16 percentage points from 2015 to 2016 due to the combined shocks of conflict and near hyperinflationary conditions. The poverty gap—the average deficit in consumption for poor households relative to the poverty line—doubled from 23% in 2009 to 47% in 2016.
Deprivation from education – two million children out of school. 1 in 5 children attend school and only 1% of these children finish primary school. Only one in 13 children are likely to finish primary school; 91% of girls are illiterate
Access to healthcare: highest infant mortality rates in the world, 75% of the population does not have access to basic healthcare. With 550,000 HIV positive persons in South Sudan, children find themselves powerless against the spread of the virus. Almost three million children are severely food insecure; more than one million are acutely malnourished;
Early marriage exists throughout the country but poverty and civil war have aggravated the problem. Hunger; there is a cute hunger in the country because of civil wars cattle rustlings so instead of children going to school they are left to go and work in forced labour.
Poverty in South Sudan is primarily rural, characterized by a general lack of access to services, infrastructure, and economic opportunity. More than 85% of the 12 million South Sudanese reside in sparsely populated rural areas with very poor amenities. Little economic activity is conducted outside of the agricultural sector, and farming remains the primary source of livelihood for more than 8 out of 10 households. Contributing to the lack of economic opportunity is the fact that decades of conflict have had a devastating impact on the national education system. South Sudan consequently has one of the lowest literacy rates in Africa, with only 4 out of 10 people being able to read.