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An introduction to Superpower Geographies
A new recipe for economic development
A Shrinking World
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Baby steps for China
Building a nation: South Sudan one year on
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Factors influencing the success of pastoral farming in developing countries
Fast Food Farmers
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Hello South Sudan
India - Change and challenge for a new superpower
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Kinky boots
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Hello South Sudan

November 2011

What are the geographical challenges facing the world’s newest nation?

There are now 196 nations* in the world. The creation of South Sudan by the division of Sudan (previously Africa’s biggest country) took place in July 2011, six months after over-whelming popular support was given for an independence vote.

After 50 years of conflict, including the humanitarian crisis of Darfur, it is to be hoped that a more peaceful era has arrived for this troubled region of Africa. This article examines the background to the split and explores the range of challenges that South Sudan’s new rulers face. These include maintaining smooth international relations (with neighbouring Sudan and major investor states such as China), managing the return home of a large diaspora and finding a development pathway that is less reliant on oil money.

[* There are generally agreed to be 196 sovereign states. These comprise 192 UN members; also Vatican City, Kosovo and South Sudan; and the more controversial case of Taiwan. Some countries such as Wales are not counted because they are not fully independent states.]

Relevance

This case study can serve as a synoptic exercise. It brings together a number of geographic themes in a context that many A-level students may lack familiarity with. It also supports studies for the IBO Diploma Global Interactions paper, the AQA Conflict A2 option topic and Edexcel Unit 3 (Superpowers and the Development Gap).

In the Members' Area:

  • The background to South Sudan’s independence
  • South Sudan’s geographical challenges
  • References

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