South Sudan’s Economy at Risk Due to Disrupted Oil Exports, Crisis Group Warns

The International Crisis Group (ICG) warned on Wednesday that South Sudan is confronting an economic crisis as the ongoing conflict in neighboring Sudan disrupts its oil exports. Oil revenues are not only crucial for maintaining unity among South Sudan’s fractious political elites, the ICG stated, but also represent the government’s primary source of income.

The landlocked nation, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, remains dependent on its northern neighbor’s ports to access international oil markets. However, one of South Sudan’s two oil pipelines to the coast, responsible for roughly two-thirds of its exports, broke down in February and is expected to be inoperable for months.

The ICG cautioned that the consequences for South Sudan will be severe. The government will deplete its funds, and the national currency will plummet in value. Chronic food shortages, already affecting the fragile nation, will intensify, potentially sparking renewed instability and conflict.

Moreover, hundreds of thousands fleeing Sudan’s civil war have sought refuge in South Sudan, straining the host country’s limited capacity to feed its population. A staggering 7.1 million of South Sudan’s 12 million people currently face acute hunger, while cross-border trade with Sudan has stalled.

As preparations lag for December’s landmark elections—the first since independence—South Sudan’s leaders confront myriad challenges according to the ICG, including a struggling economy, rampant corruption, catastrophic flooding, and deadly clashes across the countryside. However, the group identified the damaged pipeline and its financial ramifications as the most urgent threat to peace.

The ICG urged regional and global partners to prepare emergency relief aid for South Sudan while intensifying efforts to end the war in neighboring Sudan.