Major problems facing South Sudan today

dinka-ladyThe Republic of South Sudan or South Sudan for short is a landlocked country located at the North-eastern part of Africa (more precisely, the East-Central Africa region of Northeastern Africa) just at the south of the Republic of 'North' Sudan. The Republic of South Sudan also shares borders with the Republic of Ethiopia to the east, the Republic of Uganda to the south, the Republic of Kenya to the southeast and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Southwest. The Republic of South Sudan covers a total land area of about 619,745sq km (about 15% of which is covered by the vast swamp region of the Sudd formed by the White Nile. The sudd or the "Bahr al Jabal" is one of the largest wetlands in the world). The Republic of South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011.

The Republic of South Sudan has a population of about 11 million people. Just about 22% of the total population of South Sudan live in urban areas in major cities such as Juba, Yei, Aweil, Malakal, etc. Juba the capital of South Sudan contains about 250,000 people. The remaining 78% live in rural areas mostly as poor subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families. Although all religions are welcomed in South Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan is mostly a Christian-Animist blend. South Sudan is one of the ethnically/culturally rich countries in all of Africa with several ethnic and racial groups living together. Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo,Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Lango, Dungotona, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo and Acholi are some of the major ethnic groups living in South Sudan today. Although English is the official language, Arabic, Nuer, Bari, Zande, Dinka, Shilluk, and several other local languages are spoken in South Sudan today.

The Republic of South Sudan is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, petroleum, silver, iron ore, chromium ore, zinc, mica, hydropower, limestone, copper, hardwoods, fertile agricultural land, etc.

However, despite the abundance of Natural resources, the new Republic of South Sudan remains one of the poorest countries in Africa with the second-worst literacy rate in the world. South Sudan has a literacy rate of just 27% for the total population and 16% for the female population. In other words, just about 27% of the total population of South Sudan above age 15 can read and write. Also, just about 16% of the total female population above age 15 can read and write which falls far below average in Africa today. Mali's literacy rate of 26.2% is the worst in the world followed by South Sudan. The then president of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir was the root cause of most of these problems facing the new Republic today. Instead of using the oil money to improve education and other sectors of the economy, Omar Al-Bashir was busy sponsoring terrorist groups such as the Janjaweed. Al-Bashir also "sponsored" the Darfur genocide.

The Republic of South Sudan remains one of the HIV/AIDS killing zones in the world with adult prevalence rate of 3.1% (within the top 25 most affected countries in the world). Besides the deadly HIV/AIDS, dengu fever, meningococcal meningitis, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, African trypanosomiasis popularly known as "sleeping sickness", rabies, hepatitis A and E, typhoid fever, etc., continue to threaten several lives in South Sudan today.

The long years of bloody conflicts have destroyed a lot in South Sudan but the new Republic is ready for a positive change. The current president Salva Kiir and his government are working very hard to help South Sudan rebuild although more "outside" help is needed especially in these early stages of the rebuilding process.