South Sudan- Country Profile

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South Sudan, officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a country in east-central Africa. It became independent from Sudan in 2011.

Background

Since independence, South Sudan has struggled to establish a unified government and has been subject to conflict between opposing political groups.

In 2020, the population of South Sudan was 11.2 million. 1 It has one of the world’s highest proportions of young people, with a median age of only 18.6 years.2 The life expectancy of South Sudanese men is 56.4 years and for women is 59.4 years.3 It is also one of the world’s poorest countries and is classified by the World Bank as low-income.4

Tobacco Use in South Sudan

According to the Tobacco Atlas 2016, every year more than 3,200 people die of tobacco-related disease in South Sudan while more than half a million people over the age of 15 use tobacco daily. 5

Tobacco in South Sudan

The cigarette market in 2019 in South Sudan was estimated to have sold just over 3,000 million sticks and be worth US$106 million by Euromonitor International.6 Euromonitor does not have market share data available for South Sudan. However, the Haggar Cigarette and Tobacco Company, which was founded in South Sudan in 1948, was acquired by Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in 2011.7 According to its corporate website, British American Tobacco (BAT) is also active in the country through its Kenya office.8

Roadmap to Tobacco Control

As of August 2021, South Sudan has not signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). It also has not reported data related to the implementation of MPOWER measures in the country.9

Tobacco Industry Interference

According to documents and testimony from a whistle-blower, British American Tobacco has been involved in the smuggling and illicit trade of tobacco in South Sudan and the wider region. The documents, reported in The Guardian newspaper, purport to show that “BAT made plans to launch in South Sudan just two days before it gained independence from the north after years of destruction from a civil war that left 4 million people displaced”10.

According to the minutes of BAT’s Project South Sudan Kick Off Meeting: “Our strategic intent for this market is to develop sustainable volume initially and the value will come later. The intention is to enter the market with Sportsman and Safari brands which are already widely recognised. The majority of the market is in the Low and Very Low segments”. Moreover, the newspaper’s investigation revealed that BAT and other tobacco corporations used threats against at least eight African nations, including South Sudan, demanding they dismiss or dilute tobacco control measures. 10The allegations, among others, were investigated by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office but in 2021 it announced that it would not pursue a prosecution. BAT has denied any wrongdoing.

Extensive research published in 2021 by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, a partner in STOP, and in conjunction with BBC’s Panorama, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project uncovered multiple instances of British American Tobacco seeking to frustrate tobacco control measures in Africa.

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. World Bank, Population total of South Sudan, 2021, accessed August 2021
  2. The World Factbook, Africa: South Sudan, US Central Intelligence Agency website, last updated August 2nd 2021, accessed August 2021
  3. Passport, South Sudan: Country Profile, Euromonitor International, 5 October 2020, accessed November 2020 (paywall)
  4. World Bank Country and Lending Groups, The World Bank, 2020, accessed November 2020
  5. Tobacco Atlas, South Sudan, undated, accessed August 2021
  6. Passport, Tobacco market size: South Sudan, Euromonitor International, accessed November 2020 (paywall)
  7. Japan Tobacco Inc., JT to Acquire Leading Company in the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, press release, 28 July 2011, accessed November 2020
  8. South Sudan, BAT website, undated, accessed November 2020
  9. World Health Organization, Country profile: South Sudan, WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2019, accessed November 2020
  10. abS.Boseley, Revealed: how British American Tobacco exploited war zones to sell cigarettes, 18 August 2017, The Guardian, accessed August 2021
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