Government of Canada

Canadian International Development Agency

Sudan and South Sudan

Table of Contents

Portrait of three Sudanese women ©  ACDI-CIDA/Roger LeMoyne


Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Sudan People's Liberation Army in 2005, a referendum on self-determination of southern Sudan was held in January 2011. During this referendum, the citizens of southern Sudan voted massively in favour of independence. The Government of Sudan recognized the result of the referendum, and the Republic of South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011.

Canada was pleased with the holding of the peaceful and credible referendum and, on February 8, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada's intention to recognize the Republic of South Sudan.

For more information visit Canada: Active in Sudan and South Sudan on the Departnment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website.

The Republic of Sudan is located north of the Republic of South Sudan and has its capital in Khartoum. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, the Republic of South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest.

The Republic of South Sudan is located south of the Republic of Sudan and is bordered by Ethiopia to the east, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, and the Central African Republic to the west. Juba is its capital city. According to 2008 census figures, the population of the Republic of South Sudan is roughly 8.3 million.

The former country of Sudan was geographically the largest country in Africa. The region has abundant mineral and oil resources, as well as productive land that grows cotton, sesame and wheat and provides grazing for livestock. However, the area has experienced years of unrest, civil wars, and natural disasters. This situation has left an estimated five million internally displaced persons in need of assistance. Much of the infrastructure is disintegrating. On the United Nations Development Programme's 2011 human development index, the former country of Sudan, ranks 169 out of 187 countries.

Civil war, which had racked Sudan since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1956, continues. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 ended the north-south conflict, but the situation is fragile and must be reinforced to avoid a relapse. Separate conflicts have occurred elsewhere throughout all of Sudan and in the Darfur region in particular. The Darfur conflict is still unresolved, leaving 2.7 million persons displaced. Challenges are becoming increasingly regional in scope and are fuelling instability in eastern Chad. Both countries now face large refugee influxes from neighbouring countries, including Chad.

The impact of these conflicts is staggering, given chronic food and water shortages and drought. Life expectancy only averages 57 years, and literacy rates are just 61 percent for adults over the age of 15. Both countries now face a critical time in history.

Thematic Focus

In 2009, as part of Canada's new aid effectiveness agenda, Sudan was selected by CIDA as a country of focus. After the referendum, Canada's engagement in Sudan and South Sudan continues to follow key foreign policy priorities of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law. It also continues to respond to Canadian public and international interest in having the Canadian government play a diplomatic role, provide development assistance, and contribute to peace and stability in the two countries.

Canada's whole-of-government approach comprises:

  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Early recovery programs
  • Peacekeeping and peacebuilding
  • Diplomatic efforts to prepare the ground for sustainable development

Canada's approach on all of Sudan is to coordinate its actions through a task force, of which CIDA is a member, along with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the Department of National Defence, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Together they are making a contribution toward helping the people of Sudan and South Sudan to:

  • Address humanitarian challenges
  • Reduce security threats
  • Enhance stability
  • Support efforts for longer-term sustained economic growth

CIDA's objective is to support efforts to create the conditions for long-term peace, stability and prosperity.

CIDA's program is directly aligned with the Government of Canada's whole-of-government strategy.

Children and youth, including maternal, newborn and child health

CIDA focuses on increasing access to integrated basic services, such as education and health services, for at-risk older children and youth where needs are greatest, in a conflict-sensitive manner.

Key anticipated results
  • Increased basic health care access for returnees
  • Vaccinated women of child-bearing age and children
  • More women and newborns benefitted from emergency obstetric services
  • Provided first-time access to formal and non-formal basic education

Food security

CIDA provides vulnerable households with a way to generate income by providing employment skills that lead to improved food production and increased market access for agricultural products and livestock.

Key anticipated results
  • Improved livelihoods and provided better access to markets for more individuals
  • Improved agricultural production, including access to seeds and tools, for more households
  • Graduated more women from farm and off-farm livelihoods training
  • Established community-based savings groups aimed at increasing incomes


CIDA focuses on helping to establish government institutions in South Sudan. This includes strengthening the core skills of public servants and improving public financial management.

Key anticipated results
  • Implemented the electronic payroll system for state-level and Government of South Sudan ministries and commissions
  • Strengthened core skills, including training in the English language and computer literacy, for public servants in ministries in states and in the Government of South Sudan
  • Enhanced local government administration officers' knowledge of their roles and functions
  • Deployed UN volunteer specialists into government institutions to fill critical gaps in areas such as public financial management

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

The principles of aid effectiveness, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's and CIDA's guidelines for fragile states, and the Millennium Development Goals will continue to direct CIDA's program in both countries.

Canada co-ordinates with other donors through a number of mechanisms, including a joint donor office established in South Sudan, mandated to improve aid effectiveness. The only one of its kind, the office is shared by Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. CIDA responds to humanitarian assistance appeals, such as the US$2.29 billion United Nations and Partners: 2009 Work Plan for Sudan.

To promote aid effectiveness, CIDA's program has a dual approach of working through pooled funds on large-scale projects and directly with non-governmental organizations on focused projects.

Achievements 2010-2011

Food security

  • Reduced hunger in five South Sudanese communities, by providing seeds, tools and training to more than 1,500 food-insecure households helping them to increase production by 20 percent
  • Helped to reduce the annual hunger gap in the South Sudanese community of Juaibor from an average of 120 days to 30 days by improving farming techniques and inputs and increasing the number of acres under cultivation
  • Cleared and restored more than 350,000 m² of previously unarable land, increasing the availability of land for agricultural production for 15,286 beneficiaries in the Western and Central Equatoria states of South Sudan

Children and youth, including maternal, newborn and child health

  • Strengthened the quality of and access to basic education by helping to train 10,200 teachers, constructing and/or rehabilitating almost 300 schools, and providing school supplies for two million students across Sudan and South Sudan
  • Helped train 228 teachers on gender-sensitive, safe and inclusive educational environments in three separate areas in Sudan (North and South Kordofan states and Abyei)
  • Helped provide clean water to 736,000 people across Sudan and South Sudan, reducing the burden of collecting water, a task often borne by girls and women
  • Helped establish 14 new village savings and loans groups in South Sudan's Upper Nile state, generating income for internally displaced youth
  • Supported the construction and rehabilitation of 110 health facilities in Sudan and South Sudan
  • Contributed to a 30 percent increase in childbirths attended by skilled health staff in South Sudan
  • Contributed to a 33 percent increase in the number of doctors in South Sudan


  • Supported the credible and impartial referendum on South Sudan's independence in January 2011 by:
    • deploying 187 international observers, including 13 Canadians, as well as 3,192 domestic observers to monitor and report on the referendum
    • designing and distributing 2.2 million voter-education materials, which helped to achieve a near 100 percent participation rate in the referendum for both women and men
    • training more than 31,000 police officers and 75 judges in how to support fair and just elections
    • training 200 journalists in how to strengthen the role of the media
    • enabling observers to effectively monitor the referendum process
  • Helped South Sudan set up and run a new payroll system for public servants

Humanitarian assistance

  • Supported the World Food Programme's efforts to provide food assistance to 11 million people in Sudan and South Sudan affected by drought and widespread insecurity
  • Helped supply essential water and sanitation, shelter materials, and health care, including vaccines, medical services, and supplies, to non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies working with vulnerable groups both in Sudan and South Sudan
  • Provided emergency health assistance to more than 1.75 million people in eight communities in South Sudan

Achievements 2009-2010

Food security

  • Established eight women's agricultural centres
  • Improved agricultural technologies, benefiting 154 farmer groups
  • Distributed 2,255 fruit tree saplings to 550 households, 400 modern beehives and accessories to 100 households, and 114 goats to 46 households
  • Provided business and marketing training to a total of 182 persons, 114 persons in beekeeping and 68 persons in milk processing and dairy product development
  • Since January 2006, supported the World Food Programme, which continues to assist in feeding hungry people

Children and youth

  • Contributed to emergency health assistance to more than 1.75 million people in eight communities
  • Contributed to a 30-percent increase in births attended by skilled health staff
  • Increased the number of doctors in southern Sudan by 33 percent
  • Provided livelihood and vocational training and income-generating activities to more than 20,000 people
  • Rehabilitated 250 schools and trained 2,300 teachers


  • Provided training for as many as 500 trainers in civic and voter education
  • Provided advice and technical support in the referendum, which included a study tour to Canada for Sudanese officials to learn more about the referendum process
  • Contributed to voter registration and civic education of the population and co-chaired the Donor Coordination Group on the Referendum in Sudan

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