Shocking facts on South Sudan

South Sudan children in 'Class' Photo by Africa24 Media
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South Sudan  ranks 171 out of 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index.

 

According to a South Sudan presidential spokesperson, Salva Kiir does not have a bank account, either inside or outside the country.

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The adult literacy rate in South Sudan is only 27%. In a post-independence survey, nearly half of the country’s civil servants had only a primary education.

 

In 2012, President Salva Kiir accused 75 ministers and officials of having stolen $4 billion in state funds and requested the money be returned, but according to news reports, only 1.5% of this sum was actually recovered.

 

Freedom House, Reporters without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists unanimously report that freedom of the press has declined significantly in recent years. South Sudanese officials have pushed for “patriotic journalism,” causing journalists and anti-corruption activists to self-censor in order to avoid arrest or physical harm

 

At the time of the country’s first oil receipts, it lacked basic infrastructure such as a Central Bank or a Ministry of Finance building.

 

Meanwhile, elites on both sides have the resources to sustain an armed conflict that began in December 2013 and has since killed tens of thousands of people, displaced over two million, and has left 4.6 million, or around 40 percent of the population, food insecure.

 

The country has been a major recipient of international assistance, estimated at roughly US$130 dollars per capita until 2013.This aid has allowed South Sudan levels of public spending almost three times that of Kenya, despite having an economy only one-fifth the size.

 

According to the IMF, as oil receipts have fallen, the government has increasingly resorted to collateralizing future oil sales to secure foreign loans, often at high interest rates, and has also taken on debt to fund the purchase of weapons.

 

 

In December 2014, the IMF reported that South Sudan had already borrowed $328. million through a $1 billion line of credit extended by foreign oil companies operating in South Sudan. At least $59 million of this was overtly allocated for the purchase of weapons in the first half of 2014, while another $158 million was a short-term loan for the Juba Airport construction project, one of the country’s longest running, most delayed, and most expensive projects

 

Security spending has steadily grown and currently makes up at least 40% of the budget, as seen in the officially reported figures for 2015, while only 5 percent of the budget was allocated to education

 

The SPLA and government ministries routinely overspend their annual budgets and receive additional “off-budget” funds. In the first quarter of 2015, the Office of the President had overspent its allocated budget by 349%, the Ministry of Defense by 150%, and the Veterans Affairs department by 113%.

 

The South Sudanese “military” is a very large organization that binds together conventional forces, paramilitaries, and militias through a large and complicated patronage system that requires significant funding to maintain. In the run-up to independence in 2011, no fewer than eighteen armed groups were ‘bought out’ and integrated into the SPLA.

 

The security force payrolls expanded from an estimated 40,000 in 2004 to 240,000 soldiers in the army alone in 2011, augmented by an additional 90,000 strong paramilitary reserve of policemen, prison warders, and wildlife guards. Rebel commanders became senior generals: the government had at least 745 generals in 2011

 

By November 2013 there were at least 28 licensed commercial banks130 which the IMF estimated hold 97% of capital. The availability of banking services has reportedly reduced the difficulties of servicing illicit financial transfers as it grants facilitators greater access to the larger financial system outside South Sudan. Bulk cash couriers are giving way to faster and safer wire transfers, available to some without the required disclosures or paperwork.

 

2014 report by the International Monetary Fund indicates that there were 79 licensed foreign exchange houses in South Sudan in mid-2013,an unusually high number given the small size of the South Sudanese financial sector. For comparison, Kenya has 86 licensed foreign exchange bureaus, despite an economy almost five times as large

 

Source: The Sentry, Dismantling the Financing of Africa’s Deadliest Conflicts

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