South Sudan is an oil-producing country, and in 2010, 97 percent of the government’s budget was reliant on oil revenues. At the same time, the majority of the population lives below the poverty line and only 9 percent of the national budget was allocated to the social sector in 2011, with highly inequitable geographical distribution.
Booms in oil and other mineral resources have often been associated with negative economic and social development outcomes in many African countries. South Sudan, being a newly independent country, has an opportunity to manage its oil revenues effectively and use them to meet basic needs and offer the peace dividend that the population is yearning for.
However, the impact of the recent oil shutdown has led to austerity measures in the new nation.
Also critical is understanding the situation and needs of children and women in South Sudan. This evidence has to be linked to the gaps in national programmes and budgets, and can be used to advocate for adequate resource allocation for children, and better governance and budget management from the government.
Child-sensitive social protection programmes also play an important role in mitigating the effects of poverty on children and families.
In 2007, UNICEF supported a comprehensive situation analysis of children in South Sudan, which analysed key socio-economic indicators such as poverty and education and the impact of deprivation on children.
In 2006, UNICEF provided support to the Sudan Household Health Survey (SHHS) that, for the first time, established a baseline on a number of key social indicators for South Sudan. A follow-up survey or SHHS 2 was carried out in 2010 to update indicators and establish emerging trends.