South Sudan began to emerge from nearly four decades of war with Sudan in 2005, when the two main protagonists signed a peace agreement. This enshrined South Sudan's right to self-determination, and it became an independent nation on 9 July 2011.
The struggle for power in the world's newest country turned violent again in late 2013, and since then nearly 400,000 have died as a result, around a fifth as many as those who died in the 1983-2005 civil war. 4.3 million people (over one in 3 of the population) are displaced, over half of them in neighbouring countries.
South Sudan is one of Africa’s least developed countries, and is heavily reliant on oil (over 90% of its national revenue) and international aid. The fall in oil prices during the Covid-19 pandemic has a massive impact on an already struggling country. The country urgently needs to diversify its economy, but this is hampered by political rivalry and the lack of physical infrastructure - and of course by limited education.