In Sudan life is not measured by the number of world possessions you own which is just as well for the newly established country's 11.19 million (2020) population. Despite its oil fields that account for 95% of its income, South Sudan is a poor country and life in South Sudan is harsh with and estimated 80% of its people living in poverty with more than one third lacking secure access to food. Almost 83% of the population reside in rural areas, reliant on subsistence farming (growing cassava, groundnuts, sweet potato, sorghum, sesame, maize, rice, finger millet, cowpea and beans), however just 4% of the land in South Sudan away from the river is arable and few can expect to live beyond 57 years of age. This, and others factors, contribute to South Sudan being ranked in 185th place of 189 countries and territories in 2019 in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country.
One of the reasons for this low life expectancy in South Sudan is that just 55% of the people have access to safe drinking water and, due to increased costs of production, water providers in the capital of Juba are producing less and charging more pushing the cost of safe, bottled water out of the reach of many. Rural families are therefore reliant on small boreholes that are often many miles away from where they live and are infected leading to a high prevalence of children in particular suffering from water related diseases such as bacterial and protozoa diarrhoea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever. This situation is compounded by the fact that, according to the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview report, 90% of South Sudan's population has no access to safe sanitation, making it the country with the lowest access in the world. All of this results in current infant mortality rate for South Sudan in 2022 of 59.737 deaths per 1000 live births.
Educational outcomes are also poor for children in South Sudan with just two out of every hundred children completing their primary education. In fact South Sudan has the lowest enrolment of any country in the world apart from Afghanistan although some caution should be exercised as there is no recent data although some insight can be gleaned from the fact that South Sudan also has the lowest literacy rate in world with only 27% of the adult population being able to read and write. This is partly down to the internal war that destroyed many schools and led to around 2.5 million children abandoning their education but also because, following independence, 75% of all suitably qualified teachers came from north Sudan and have stayed there. Appeals continue to reach out for qualified teachers from outside the country to return to help rebuild the educational infrastructure.
Life in South Sudan has been made all the more difficult due to the number of returning refugees and displaced persons placing increased pressure on an already weak infrastructure in a country that, while having a road network over 17,000 km, only 200 km of them are paved making transport ineffcient and costly. Despite this, life in South Sudan does have prospects. It's a potentially rich country with natural resources including oil, gold, silver, iron ore and copper however, as one leading commenter noted, "Life in South Sudan is likely to be precarious for some years to come." The video (below) give a glimpse of daily life in South Sudan today.
Life in South Sudan: Volunteer in South Sudan
Life in South Sudan: Juba Profile
Life in South Sudan: Sponsor Children in South Sudan
Life in South Sudan: Country Profile
Details of current volunteer work
opportunities in each of the
countries of Africa.
Discover all about Africa, its tourist
attractions, history, people, culture
and daily life there.
A treasure trove of African
resources from webcams to
free downloads and news.