JUBA – A report released by the International Crisis Group has said that South Sudan’s economy was the strongest in the region when the country obtained its independence from Sudan in 2011 following a 21-year old conflict.
The 42-page report released on Wednesday shows that young nation had a higher gross domestic product or GDP per capita of $1516 – making it the largest economy compared to its neighbors – Kenya, Uganda, and the Sudan.
“Despite sky-high poverty and underdevelopment rates, at its birth, South Sudan qualified as a middle-income country based on its per capita GDP,” reads the report, titled: Oil or Nothing: Dealing with South Sudan’s Bleeding Finances.
Per capita, gross domestic product measures a country’s economic output per person and is calculated by dividing the GDP of a country by its population.
South Sudan’s population is estimated to be 12 million people.
The report further shows that South Sudan’s total annual oil revenues were estimated to be between $800 million and $1 billion in the 2020-2021 budget, prepared by the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
With net oil revenues at 90.244 billion South Sudanese pounds, at an official exchange rate of 167 pounds to the U.S. dollar at the time, compared to non-oil revenues of 14.7 billion pounds.
Crude oil accounted for 94.6 percent of official exports in 2019, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website.
However, the 2013 conflict, two years after independence, has weakened the economy and the country’s currency against the world’s major currencies.
Currently, civil servants spend months without pay with many developmental projects being put on hold as a country struggle to rebuild its economy
To revise the economy, the International Crisis Group is urging South Sudanese reform-minded and international partners to focus on financial reforms and ensure oil revenues are deposited in a single account.