South Sudan, a mainly African and Christian country, has only recently emerged from over 25 years of war with north Sudan, a mainly Muslim, Arabic country. At least 1.5 million people are thought to have lost their lives in the fighting.
A peace agreement was signed in 2005, which resulted in South Sudan becoming an independent nation on 9th July 2011, but it is still volatile within its own recently created boundaries.
South Sudan is one of Africa’s least developed countries, but the newest nation in the world has benefitted from international aid since 2005, and stands to benefit from inheriting the bulk of Sudan's oil wealth.
The peace dividend, however is hindered by continuing border disputes, rivalries within the governing party, a lack of physical infrastructure and limited economic development. Over-dependence upon oil revenues (80% of GDP) clouds the immediate future, but long term prospects probably lie in diversifying the economy towards development of agriculture and forestry.