South Sudan is located in Eastern Africa, covers an area of over 600,000 square km and has a population of 8.26 million (2008). It is bordered by Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Central Africa. English is South Sudan's official language.
South Sudan has rich oil deposits and significant potential in agriculture, forestry, fishery and animal husbandry. However, due to the long-time civil war, South Sudan is one of the poorest regions in Africa, backward in infrastructure, public services and education.
In 1995-1972 and 1983-2005, Sudan suffered two major civil wars that left millions of people dead or homeless.
In 2005, the north and south sides of the country moved toward reconciliation under the pressure and mediation of the international community. The Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the CPA and agreed to hold a referendum in 2011 after a six-year transitional period to decide whether the south would become independent.
On Jan. 9, the South Sudan referendum was held as scheduled with the support and monitoring of the international community. The result, which has been recognized by the Sudanese government and the international community, showed that 98.83 percent of the voters chose independence.