FAO Investment Centre

Charting a path towards development and growth in South Sudan


Since gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has struggled with conflict, natural disasters and macroeconomic instability. Poverty, malnutrition and displacement rates are high, and basic infrastructure – roads, electricity, access to clean drinking water – is lacking. But South Sudan is rich in natural resources. A well-developed agrifood system could provide major opportunities to improve food security, create jobs, boost incomes and foster peace.

In 2022, the Centre and the World Bank published Transforming agriculture in South Sudan: from humanitarian aid to a development-oriented growth path. The analysis looks at the investment, policy and institutional support needed to transform the country’s agriculture sector. It advocates for a comprehensive approach that goes beyond agricultural productivity to include value chain improvements and the rebuilding of human and social capital and community trust.

Following a thorough review of South Sudan’s agrifood system, policy and regulatory environment, infrastructure, institutions and governance arrangements, and based on broad multistakeholder consultations, the team identified four complementary investment strategies.

The first strategy argues that South Sudan needs to boost and diversify agricultural production and productivity significantly to improve food security and nutrition. Strengthening community resilience and rebuilding human and social capital is the focus of the second strategy. This can be done by improving access to community infrastructure and savings and loan groups and empowering women, among other activities.

The third strategy looks to support the growth of agribusinesses and job creation. The fourth strategy centres around peace consolidation – resolving conflicts through community dialogue, mediation and negotiated territorial development on issues like access to natural resources and improved land tenure security and rights.

The volatile, unpredictable and rapidly changing situation in South Sudan calls for a flexible and adaptive approach when combining the complementary strategies. The broad investment framework is designed to guide policymakers and development partners in identifying investment projects and programmes in the country. The report also makes clear that the country’s agricultural transformation must be led by the government through an inclusive and multistakeholder process for widespread buy-in. Government policy, good governance and strong partnerships to develop, finance and carry out the strategic investments will be key to the transformation’s success.

Photo credit ©FAO/Max Valencia
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