Background: Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January 2011 and indicated overwhelming support for independence. A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union on 31 December 2007. As of early 2009, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional in scope and has brought instability to eastern Chad. Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries primarily Ethiopia and Chad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
note: program of "Arabization" in process
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 61.1%; male: 71.8%; female: 50.5% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $98.79 billion (2010 est.); $93.91 billion (2009 est.); $90.12 billion (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $65.93 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 5.2% (2010 est.); 4.2% (2009 est.); 6.6% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,200 (2010 est.); $2,200 (2009 est.); $2,200 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 32.1%; industry: 29%; services: 38.9% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 40% (2004 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 11.92 million (2007 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 80%; industry: 7%; services: 13% (1998 est.);
Unemployment rate: 18.7% (2002 est.);
Budget: revenues: $11.06 billion; expenditures: $13.15 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly;
Industrial production growth rate: 3.5% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 4.341 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 3.438 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
(Online publication), Khartoum
(independent, online), Khartoum
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The Kony 2012 video has led to increased U.S. pressure on the Ugandan regime to catch the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader.
The Global Fund has been fighting disease for a decade in 150 countries, but the time is ripe for reform and reassessment of its operations.
The world's newest nation has reason to look positively as its future, but South Sudan must work hard to safeguard its hard-won independence.
With southern Sudan likely to find itself an independent nation, in addition to problems with healthcare, electricity and illiteracy, it may also face challenges to the freedom of its media.