Author: Lauren Ploch Blanchard
South Sudan emerged in 2011 as the world?s newest country, and one of its least developed. After almost 40 years of war between the Sudan government and southern insurgents, southern Sudanese voted in January 2011 to secede from Sudan. More than 2.5 million people were killed in that civil war and some 4.5 million were displaced. Many fled as refugees, including to the United States. South Sudan was devastated by the conflict, which hindered the development of basic infrastructure, human capital, and formal civilian institutions. Massive, chronic humanitarian needs persisted after independence despite abundant natural resources, including oil fields from which Sudan had generated 75% of its oil production. High-level state corruption also slowed post-war recovery and development. South Sudan was the world?s largest recipient of humanitarian aid in 2013; its needs since then have grown substantially, driven by a new internal conflict.