South Sudan at independence Photo credit- Upper Nile Times

South Sudan attained independence from Sudan on July 09, 2011 after a referendum, becoming the newest country in the world. South Sudan is a member of the United Nations, African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

On March 3rd, 2016, the East African Community Secretariat declared South Sudan officially a member of the regional block. The country will remain an observer until issues around instability, governance and human rights record are addressed by the current leadership.

The oil rich country faced enormous setback with the civil war which began in December 2013. This conflict has seen resulted in substantial loss of life and the displacement of over 2.3 million people from their homes. Currently, 1.7 million people have been displaced from their homes while 640, 000 live in neighboring countries as refugees. In addition, there are almost 200,000 IDPs currently being hosted at the UN Protection of Civilian (POC) sites in Juba, Bentiu, Melut, Malakal and Bor. The conflict has also resulted in massive destruction of property and infrastructure.

South Sudan Independence Celebrations - Photo Credit - Trumanproject.orgUnder the leadership of the IGAD, the government and the SPLM-IO signed a compromised peace agreement which has brought relevant peace in the country.

Population: 8 – 10 million people.

Location: South Sudan lies between latitudes 3° and 13°N, and longitudes 24° and 36°E. It is covered in tropical forest, swamps, and grassland.

Official language: After independence, English became the official language, replacing Arabic.