South Sudan in a Glimpse

south-sudan-peopleSome facts and statistics:

The population of Sudan is 8.2 according to the estimate and its area is a total of 619,745 sq. kilometers. It is located in East Central Africa and shares its borders with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and North Sudan.

Language:

Arabic

Capital and Currency:

Its capital is Juba and its currency is South Sudanese pound. (SSP)

Ethnic Division:

There are 60 indigenous ethnic groups in South Sudan, some of them namely the Acholi, the Dinka people, the Madi, the Nuer etc.

Religions:

In South Sudan, some indigenous religions are practiced (called the Animist belief), whereas the rest of the population is Christian and a small number of population constitutes of the Muslims.

Political situation:

Sudan is a new country which gained its independence from North Sudan on July 9th, 2011 after a referendum that took place in January of the same year. According to the referendum 99% of the population of South Sudan voted in the favor of secession from Sudan (now called the North Sudan) because the majority of South Sudan had religious and ethnic differences. North Sudan had a majority of Muslim population whereas South Sudan had a majority of Christian population and also people from other beliefs, which resulted in this split. The civil war in Sudan, also was a proof that both the religious communities living there were not willing to tolerate the differences between them.

south-sudan-oilA brief Synopsis of South Sudan’s economy:

South Sudan produces 2/3rd of the 5 million barrels of oil it produces per day. Much of the oil reserves are in South Sudan. It earns a lot of foreign exchange and revenue by its oil produce, but it has to use the infrastructure of North Sudan to export oil to the ship ports on the Red Sea coast. And North and South Sudan have a dispute over how much both would pay in the export of oil, since Sudan has to depend upon the pipelines located in North Sudan. South Sudan has halted the production of oil after this dispute and has signed agreements with Kenya and Ethiopia to construct pipelines from S. Sudan to the ports of Lamu and Djibouti respectively.  South Sudan’s GDP rate has experienced a low of growth rate of 1.9% the previous year. Although the country has a lot of oil reserves, it is a poor country because of no proper infrastructure and lack of electricity. It exports oil and teak and a number of agricultural products. Cotton, Livestock, sesame, groundnuts, oil, and gum Arabic are also exported by Sudan to other countries.

Etiquettes and Living of the People:

The people of Sudan are still conservative and it could be termed as a male dominated society. Marriages are often the outcome of decisions of elders and in most cases are completely arranged to the extent that at times the bride and groom have not seen each other. The living of people is simple and in most of the households, there is no custom of using furniture but people sit on the floor and prefer eating on the floor as was the custom of their Prophet. The people are hospitable and like to serve the guest with food. They eat with their right hands, often using no spoon or fork and from the same serving bowl. They greet each other by embracing or tapping on each other’s shoulders and kissing. They say the customary phrases like “assalam u alaikum” (God’s peace be with you) and “In sha Allah” (If God grants it). Honor of a person is linked with the honor of his tribe or family. Even the extended family holds much importance in the Sudanese society.

Business Etiquettes and rules:

  • Shake hands and greet elder people first before a meeting.
  • Always try to wear formal clothing for business meetings which should be conservative and avoid wearing suits in winters due to the dry and hot climate.
  • Distance should be kept from the opposite sex.
  • Never try to appear in a hurry. Your impatience could be seen as an impolite gesture.
  • Try to build a good reputation with the person you are conducting your business with. All African people do business with people whom they can trust and who seem fair in dealings.
  • Meetings are a formal gathering but you must not expect the time to be followed sharp.
  • A translator could prove to be a good idea as Arabic is spoken in Sudan but English is also spoken and understood on a limited level.
  • Business cards are given without any ritual.
  • Sudanese take their time to reach a decision, so rushing the process could prove disastrous.
  • Always shake hands when leaving.
  • Connections and contacts would help you and it might be a good idea to have a good networking.

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