South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, following decades of civil war. The country has since suffered from an internal armed conflict, which has led to widespread violence until the signature of a revitalised peace agreement in September 2018.
Since then a ceasefire is largely holding, however there are still steps to be made to form an inclusive Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity.
South Sudan is part of the group of Least Developed Countries. The development challenges for the newest country in the world are huge, aggravated by the legacies of war, frequent local violence and lack of modern infrastructures.
Of the estimated 12 million inhabitants, around 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and around half of the population is severely food insecure. More than 2 million sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
The EU’s overall objective is to achieve a more stable, resilient, and peaceful South Sudan, something that would benefit not only the country itself but the wider Horn of Africa region in general. By 2021, three priority areas were agreed on, based on the partnerships described in the EU comprehensive strategy with Africa.
Green and resilient economy
Our goals are to achieve food security, diversification of the economy, secure jobs for youth, and combat climate change. Building on past experiences, we support rural and agricultural development that will address food and nutrition security and rural livelihoods, particularly in marginalized regions with vulnerable groups, including internally displaced people, refugees, and returnees, strengthening the country’s resilience.
Human development: education and health
The EU development support will continue addressing South Sudan’s dire situation in human development, particularly for health and education, and we will promote further ownership and responsiveness from the government in both sectors. Inclusive primary education – especially basic literacy and numeracy – will be a priority. Interventions will reach out to children associated with the armed forces and other out-of-school children in marginalized regions. There will be a special focus on the situation of girls and on the inclusion of children with disabilities. Moreover, specific interventions will aim at increasing the number of qualified teachers, emphasising the training of female teachers in order to potentially bring about behavioural change in society and influence gender-based stereotypes.
Good governance, peace and rule of law for a fairer society
Our support for peace and reconciliation, access to justice, accountable and inclusive governance, and human rights, ensures that we will continue to support peace and reconciliation at national, sub-national and local levels building the foundation for a responsive, inclusive and accountable governance. The EU will advocate for initiatives on the permanent constitution-making, strengthening the rule of law and access to justice. Respect for human rights and compliance with the International Humanitarian Law will be at the centre of these efforts.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for South Sudan for 2021-2024 amounts to €208 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Green and resilient economy’ will address the following interlinked sectors: food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and livestock, land, biodiversity and energy efficiency. Strong complementarity between humanitarian and development interventions will address South Sudan’s vulnerability to food crises and widespread malnutrition.
Priority area 2: ‘Human Development: education and health’ organises interventions in the education sector that will target early-childhood numeracy and literacy (primary education). Special attention is being paid to the high number of out-of-school children, concentrating on girls, children with disabilities and children associated with the armed forces.
Priority area 3: ‘Good governance, peace and the rule of law for a fairer society’ are all thematic areas that will be addressed, with specific objectives and expected results that impact other priority areas also.
The multiannual financing decision, constituting the multiannual action plan in favour of the Republic of South Sudan for 2021-2022 has been adopted. The action plan includes the following actions: ‘Peace, reconciliation and rule of law’ and ‘Integrated support to education in South Sudan in a context of people's displacements and returns’.