South Sudan Country Profile – Infrastructure

Last updated: 12 November 2020

Official celebration in Juba a symbol of progress towards peace in South Sudan (UNMISS)

From Cia Factbook (Page last updated on October 06, 2020)

Electricity access:

  • population without electricity: 12 million (2017)
  • electrification – total population: 8.9% (2016)
  • electrification – urban areas: 22% (2016)
  • electrification – rural areas: 5.9% (2016)

Electricity – production: 412.8 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption: 391.8 million kWh (2016 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves: 3.75 billion bbl (1 January 2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves: 63.71 billion cu m (1 January 2016 est.)

Airports: 89 (2020)

Airports – with paved runways:

  • total: 4 (2020)
  • over 3,047 m: 1
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

Airports – with unpaved runways:

  • total: 84 (2020)
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 38
  • under 914 m: 33

Heliports: 3 (2020)


  • total: 248 km (2018)
  • note: a narrow gauge, single-track railroad between Babonosa (Sudan) and Wau, the only existing rail system, was repaired in 2010 with $250 million in UN funds, but is not currently operational


  • total: 90,200 km (2019)
  • paved: 300 km (2019)
  • unpaved: 89,900 km (2019)
  • note: most of the road network is unpaved and much of it is in disrepair

Waterways: NA

According to the African Development Bank Group, decades of civil war basically inhibited the provision of basic infrastructure and this undermined much of its production capacity. As a result, most goods – such as food, construction materials, and basic inputs – are imported. And exports other than oil are minimal. Given that about 80% of the population lives in rural areas, the lack of basic infrastructure for many years now has been a serious impediment to the development of the large agricultural potential of the country.

Large areas with very low population densities and decades of internal conflict have made it difficult to provide adequate infrastructure services throughout the country. Moreover, there has been a major decline in the quality of the little infrastructure that does exist: some of the facilities that were put in place several decades ago were damaged by the civil war and there have been negligible amounts of routine maintenance. As a result, most existing infrastructure is in need of rehabilitation. Moreover, relative to the population of the country and its GDP, there is not sufficient infrastructure to meet the needs of an economy that has the prospect of sustained strong economic growth in the decade ahead.

Only 2% of the existing road network in South Sudan is paved, and most roads are impassable during the wet season making it difficult if not impossible for rural people, which raises the transportation costs and also hinders the movement of goods from rural areas to urban centers and markets in the country.

There is no national rail network in South Sudan. The branch line from Babanusa in the North to Wau in South Sudan (446 km) is the only line in the country. It was heavily damaged during the conflict with the North and ceased commercial operations in 1991. It is currently being rehabilitated. 

A range of constraints limits the pace of recovery in the Nile river transport system. For example, Juba Port has suffered from siltation at its entrance. Navigational aids on the river require rehabilitation or re-installation, and in many locations, dredging is required to open up the waterways after more than two decades of neglect. There is also a general shortage of equipment for operating river transport services, including a lack of handling equipment for containers, and vessels that are not in operating condition. 

Only one percent of the population has access to electricity. As a result, per capita consumption of electricity is estimated at about 80 kWh for 2010. Data are not available for the comparator countries, but for the low-income countries of the world, the average consumption of power was 375 kWh in 2004. Inadequate electric power supply and its high cost is a major constraint on the economy. 

Other Infrastructure sources:

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