South Sudan is the world’s newest state having achieved independence in July 2011. While there is huge optimism about the future, the country is struggling to emerge from a protracted conflict with its northern neighbour Sudan. This has had significant knock-on effects within South Sudan itself. The new government of Salva Kiir, the first democratically elected President of South Sudan, is trying to address what is currently the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, while large parts of the population have no access to basic health services. Over a million children are also growing up without primary education.
There are also significant challenges related to the economy and infrastructure: over half the population live in poverty; 98% of the government’s revenue comes from oil, the flow of which is currently in dispute with Sudan, and the security situation remains fragile.
There is a clear opportunity and an urgent need to help the Government of South Sudan build effective institutions that can tackle these challenges for the benefit of the people of South Sudan. AGI were invited by the Government to scope the feasibility of coming to the country to support its attempts to address these difficult challenges. Our scoping stage has now moved on to starting limited, direct work with the Government of South Sudan.
The objective of our work in South Sudan is to strengthen the capacity of the new institutions at the centre of the Government, so they are better able to lead the country's development. Ultimately this should deliver improvements in the lives of the people of South Sudan, and democratic institutions that are sustainable in the longer term.