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Understanding the Underlying Drivers of Armed Conflict in South Sudan

Stability in South Sudan will require addressing fundamental drivers of conflict including weak national identity and state structures, the securitization of governance, and the lack of accountable leadership.

The crisis in South Sudan remains one of the most overlooked humanitarian tragedies in the world today. Since falling into civil conflict in December 2013, South Sudanese civilians have endured repeated, ethnically based attacks and a proliferation of armed groups. An estimated 400,000 people have been killed as a result of the fighting, a third of the population (over 4.3 million people) has been displaced, and 6.5 million people face acute food insecurity.

On the occasion of the release of the book, The Struggle for South Sudan: Challenges of Security and State Formation (I.B. Tauris), edited by Luka Biong Deng Kuol and Sarah Logan, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies hosted a panel discussion to assess the fundamental challenges to stability in South Sudan including impediments to state formation and national identity, the need for a social contract, the securitization of governance, the role of ethnicity, and the lack of accountable leadership. Panelists, including several of the book’s contributors, represented decades of experience grappling with these issues in South Sudan.

Dr. Luka Biong Deng Kuol [5:13]
Professor of Practice for Security Studies, Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Former Minister of the Presidency of Southern Sudan

Ms. Sarah Logan [21:12]
Policy Economist, International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics

Dr. Douglas Johnson [34:57]
Fellow, Rift Valley Institute

Ms. Kate Almquist Knopf [51:15]
Director, Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Dr. Joseph Siegle (moderating)
Director of Research, Africa Center for Strategic Studies