South Sudan oil

South Sudan

The world’s newest country is also one of Africa’s biggest oil producers. But despite all the hope, its oil revenue is not reaching those who need it most. Read more

South Sudan is the world’s newest country and one of Africa’s biggest oil producers. At independence, its oil was identified as its most important source of income. It was hoped that it that could help fund the country’s development and future prosperity. Yet much of this hope has now evaporated. The country is wracked by civil conflict and boasts some of the world’s worst humanitarian indicators on record. More than half of school-age children have never set foot in a classroom. 

The government, with support from donor bodies and NGOs like Global Witness, has passed key legislation to govern the oil sector. But it has yet to be properly implemented. There is little evidence that oil revenue is reaching those who need it most and the industry is shrouded in secrecy.  Oil is also a key driver of the devastating conflict. The oilfields have become a key strategic target for the rebels. Battles to control them have displaced communities and destroyed existing infrastructure. 

The citizens of South Sudan have lived through almost uninterrupted civil war for decades. As a result, they are some of the poorest on earth. The current conflict has displaced 1.9 million people - or 1 in 5 of the population. Despite the huge government income generated from oil, most of the revenue is being spent on the military, the war effort and serving debts owed to oil companies. Just five per cent of the latest budget [2013/14] was used on healthcare, education and infrastructure combined.

Global Witness investigates the oil sector in South Sudan to expose the links between corruption, conflict and oil. We campaign to ensure the country’s oil wealth benefits its citizens. The government must urgently secure a meaningful peace deal and halt the issuing of new oil contracts until law and order has been restored.