South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa's longest-running civil war.
The country is extremely poor after years of civil war. 2,5 million people died and 4 million became internal refugees because of the war.
The country lacks infrastructure, industry and a service sector, which is holding back the economic development of the country. Its economy is based on oil and foreign aid.
South Sudan is highly diverse ethnically and linguistically. The peace is threatened by ethnical conflics.The relations with Sudan is still tense.
Among the largest ethnic groups are the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk. Unlike the predominantly Muslim population of Sudan, the South Sudanese follow traditional religions, while a minority are Christians.
Formed from the 10 southern-most states of Sudan, South Sudan is a land of expansive grassland, swamps and tropical rain forest straddling both banks of the White Nile.