flag South Sudan South Sudan: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

After decades of conflict, South Sudan became an independent state in 2011 but has continued suffering from social unrest and economic crisis: although the peace agreement signed in September 2018 was expected to re-establish long-lasting social peace and economic stability, such expectations were not met. The formation of a unity government (February 2020), the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (August 2021), and the unification of the army’s command structure (April 2022) represent significant steps towards its implementation, but progress has been slower than expected and the process will not be complete before 2025. The GDP experienced a contraction of about 1.3% in FY2022/23, primarily due to consecutive years of flooding, hampering oil production, and elevated food inflation linked to the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing COVID-19 effects. However, signs of recovery in private sector activity are evident, supported by macroeconomic stability improvements from IMF-backed reforms, increased government spending fueled by rising oil prices, enhanced credit flow to businesses, and expanded harvested areas. Growth is projected to rebound to 2% in FY2023/24, driven by a sustained non-oil sector recovery and expanded crop cultivation. Although oil production has partially recovered from flood impacts, a temporary decline offsets gains. Over the medium term, growth is anticipated to hover around 4%, buoyed by oil output recovery and non-oil sector enhancements (World Bank data).

The economy remains excessively reliant on oil, which accounts for nearly all exports and over 90% of government revenue. In FY2022/23, fiscal pressures were more pronounced than expected. Enhanced oil prices and reforms in non-oil revenue administration augmented total revenues by 42%. However, expenses surpassed planned allocations by 29%, with an overall spending rise of 41.9%, driven chiefly by increased operational and capital expenditures. The FY2023/24 budget raised capital spending, hiked public sector salaries by 130% to offset inflation impacts, and boosted transfers to regions. Nevertheless, salary arrears accumulated since the fiscal year's outset, leading to deficit monetization. Data for FY24Q2 reveal ongoing central bank overdrafts and the use of oil advances to finance the budget. Inflation has surged, climbing from 13.3% in the first half of 2023 to 31.9% in January 2024, primarily due to currency depreciation. The Sudan conflict and the recent Red Sea crisis have disrupted oil revenue inflows, leading foreign exchange reserves to plummet from 0.5 months of import coverage in June 2023 to 0.2 months by December 2023. With increased reliance on deficit monetization, the official exchange rate has depreciated by 42% since the beginning of 2024, while the premium in parallel markets has expanded to 13.7% (World Bank). In March 2023, the International Monetary Fund's Executive Board gave the green light for the allocation of SDR 86.1 million (roughly equal to USD 114.8 million) to South Sudan through the Rapid Credit Facility's (RCF) Food Shock Window aimed at supporting the country in tackling food insecurity. In addition to preserving macroeconomic stability, the authorities remain committed to strengthening governance and implementing public financial management reforms to tackle a legacy of non-concessional external debt. The peace agreement and the opening of four border crossings with Sudan are vital opportunities for reviving an economy that is not yet well-organized and largely dependent on Sudan. The country still has few asphalt routes and poor access to electricity and drinking water. Key challenges include peace and security concerns (ongoing conflicts in the Blue Nile, Darfur, and South Kordofan states), institutional and human capacity weaknesses, oil dependency, underdeveloped industry and infrastructure, vulnerability to climate change and widespread poverty.

The economic crisis has led to an acute deterioration in humanitarian conditions. Poverty remains severe, with 7 out of 10 people living in extreme poverty. Around 8.9 million individuals, 78% of the population, face severe food insecurity exacerbated by global food price hikes and domestic floods. Additionally, 2 million people are internally displaced, with 55% being women and girls, while 2.1 million remain refugees in neighboring countries. Since the onset of the conflict in Sudan, over half a million Sudanese refugees and returnees from South Sudan have registered in the country, intensifying existing humanitarian challenges. According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate stood at 12% in 2023, down from 12.4% one year earlier, while the country’s GDP per capita was estimated at USD 1,182, the third-lowest in the world.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 8.047.306.526.997.32
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -5.2-
GDP per Capita (USD) 551486422440448
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 39.954.148.342.137.7
Inflation Rate (%) -
Current Account (billions USD) 0.780.130.260.400.45
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
South Sudanese pound (SSP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 12.3826.5230.83n/a28.74

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 62.1 13.1 24.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 10.4 33.1 56.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 21.6 -36.8 10.4

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 4,621,3884,671,3954,581,565

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 73.99%73.90%73.79%
Men activity rate 75.04%74.79%74.52%
Women activity rate 72.96%73.02%73.07%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
South Sudan News Agency
Sudan Tribune
BBC profile
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance and Planning
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
Bank of South Sudan (BOSS)

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Latest Update: May 2024