South Sudan

Geography

South Sudan gained its full independence from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011 and there is almost no socio-economic information readily available that can be verified or validated. According to the official website of the Government of the Republic of Southern Sudan, the country's area is approximately 619,745kmwith a population of 8 million people. The country boarders Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Uganda and Kenya to the southeast, Democratic Republic of Congo to the southwest and Central African Republic to the west.

South Sudan’s climate is equatorial; her terrain is comprised of mainly plain with thick equatorial vegetation and savannah grasslands. It is mountainous along its border with Uganda with Imatong, Didinga and Dongotona mountains that rise more than 3,000 metres above sea level. The country is hugely endowed with mineral resources ranging from petroleum, iron ore, gold, copper, aluminum, silver, coal, uranium, chromium ore, copper, zinc, mica, diamond, quartz and tungsten, but is completely landlocked. The country is dominated by River Nile as a geographical feature flowing across, but also a home to the world’s largest 30,000km2 swamp, the Sudd.

Even though the country’s economic statistics are still in its infancy, South Sudan did quite well compared to her neighbours in East Africa, prior to the destructive civil war that commenced in 2013 and is still (2015) ongoing, that is. GDP per capita in 2010 was estimated at US$1,546 compared to US$769 in Kenya and just US$189 in Burundi. This was due to the oil revenue sharing deal with the North (Sudan), gross national income (GNI) was much lower GNI at US$984 per capita, but still significantly higher than any country in East Africa. Export of oil amounts to 71% of the country's estimated GDP, and oil revenue accounts for almost 98% of total Government revenue, however transit costs per were set (until a reduction announced in January 2016, but of a non-disclosed amount) at $24 per barrel of oil, affordable during periods of high international crude prices but uneconomic by early 2016 during which January prices temporarily dropped below $28 per barrel (Brent crude benchmark) and closed the month just short of $36 per barrel ($35.92).

Geology 

South Sudan is underlain by metamorphic and granitic rocks belonging to the northern portion of the Tanganyika Craton bordered by gneissic rocks of the heterogeneous Sudan Shield that were subsequently deformed during the major end-Precambrian Pan African orogenic event, (Vail 1976, 1990). The geological framework of South Sudan comprises three main units: An extensive metamorphic Basement Complex and spatially associated granitic intrusions; locally developed, basaltic, rift volcanics and a widespread Tertiary-Quaternary cover sequence. The latter comprises poorly consolidated sands and clays, the Umm Rawaba Formation, plus younger superficial deposits and lateritic soils.

The Basement Complex is dominated by Proterozoic rocks of medium to high metamorphic grade with isolated areas of probably older higher grade granulitic rocks. In broad terms the Proterozoic metamorphic basement comprises three main units - variably banded and foliated granitic gneiss and migmatites, biotite-amphibole schist/amphibolites and calcareous meta-sediments and quartzose metasediments although modern mapping is required. The crystalline Basement Complex is the host for the majority of mineral occurrences recorded which are limited, the country lacking any significant mineral resource evaluation. Effusive basic volcanics, mainly basaltic lavas and tuffs are found in the south-eastern part of the country and are related to activity of the East African Rift system. The Neogene sequence comprises unconsolidated sands, gravels, clay sands and clays characterised by rapid facies changes with an estimated maximum thickness of 8,000m on geophysical evidence, It presently hosts most of the on-going oil exploration activity and numerous drill holes/wells have been sunk through the cover into the underlying basins.