South Sudan marks its second anniversary

Two years after independence, the country is booming - but faces major hurdles to its stability and continued growth.


Juba, South Sudan - July 9 marks the two-year anniversary of South Sudan's secession from neighbouring Sudan. Independence Day here commemorates an end to the decades of war which claimed more than two million lives, and the conclusion of an extensive peace process.

But two years on, the youngest nation in the world faces major hurdles to its stability and continued growth. Food security is one of the government's top objectives: 98 percent of the country's farmers are subsistence farmers, and 45 percent of the population have insecure access to food.

South Sudan's economy is also heavily reliant on its oil reserves. But the only pipeline out of South Sudan runs through Sudan, and the countries have vehemently disputed how to split revenue from oil exports. South Sudan only recently resumed oil production after a 16-month halt due to the impasse.

Analysts have stressed the need to develop the country's private sector, but tense relations between South Sudan and Sudan over the past two years - which have sometimes escalated to military clashes - have kept foreign investors at a distance.

Nevertheless, progress has been made. Billions of dollars have been contributed to South Sudan's budget, helping to kick-start development and build up institutions. Juba, South Sudan's capital, has been growing at a rapid pace as people in rural areas have migrated to the country's biggest city.