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South Sudan: Corruption and anti-corruption

After a protracted conflict and a period of self-rule from 2005, South Sudan is now the world’s most recent sovereign country. The young state faces considerable governance challenges; it regularly ranks at or near the bottom of international corruption indices. Corruption is systemic across all levels of government and pervades nearly every economic sector, and perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. As such, it takes a heavy toll on the populace by diverting the wealth from the country’s extensive oil reserves into private pockets instead of public service provision or gross fixed capital formation. This kleptocratic dynamic is embodied in scandals such as the Cash Grab and Dura Saga scandals. The international community has called on the South Sudanese government to take stronger action to tackle corruption. However, progress has been slow, and corruption remains a major challenge for South Sudan's future development.

16 May 2023
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South Sudan: Corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • Corruption has been a pervasive problem in South Sudan since its independence from Sudan in 2011. The country ranks as one of the countries with the highest level of perceived public sector corruption in the world, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Corruption affects all levels of government and economic sectors, with most nominally independent institutions de facto captured by the executive branch.
  • The level of violence has not decreased in all regions in the aftermath of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and political stability in the country remains precarious.
  • The government appears to have limited capacity or willingness to counter corruption and deliver the reforms foreseen in the R-ARCSS.
  • South Sudan is one of the world’s most oil-dependent countries, and the oil industry remains a major driver of rent-seeking behaviour in the country, exerting considerable influence over political dynamics.

Cite this publication

Harutyunyan, K.; Maslen, C.; (2023) South Sudan: Corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:11)

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Khachik Harutyunyan


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