Frontier Economics (2015). South Sudan. The Cost of War
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The conflict in South Sudan since December 2013 has devastated the lives of the majority of South Sudan’s people. It has killed tens of thousands, placed nearly a third of the population at risk of famine and ravaged key parts of the country. The conflict has been brutal: killings, rape, forced recruitment of children, mass displacement and the destruction of livelihoods. It has left open wounds that will take decades to heal. The economic costs of the conflict to date are substantial, with a projected drop of 15% in South Sudan’s GDP for 2014. This report looks forward from January 2015 to quantify the additional economic costs that would be incurred by South Sudan, other countries in the neighbouring region, and the wider international community, should the conflict continue. By viewing the conflict through this economic lens, the findings of this report likely understate the cost of war in South Sudan. The full effects of conflict, such as environmental degradation, the break-down of social cohesion, and the psycho-social trauma generated by sexual violence and child exploitation, are difficult to capture in their entirety in an economic cost benefit analysis. South Sudan can ill-afford the economic costs of war, but after decades fighting for independence from its northern neighbour, it is even less equipped to bear the heavy social costs of another generation growing up in a violently divided society. The longer the violence continues, the further it spreads, and the more insidious it becomes, the more difficult the task will be for South Sudan to undergo the kind of social, psychological and economic transformation needed to achieve lasting peace.