France’s interest in South Sudan dates back to the Fashoda Incident on 25 August 1898, on the White Nile (Kodok, capital of a county in the Upper Nile State). Once there, Commander Jean-Baptiste Marchand signed a treaty on 3 September 1898 with the King of the Shilluks. A similar agreement was signed on 7 September with the Dinka people, at their request, 12 days before Lord Kitchener arrived.
France recognized South Sudan on 9 July 2011, the day of its independence. The bilateral relationship has been cordial since. France has been represented in the autonomous government of South Sudan since 2006, when it opened an embassy office in Juba, which was then made into a Consulate General in 2010. When South Sudan declared its independence on 9 July 2011, the French Consulate-General in Juba became France’s Embassy in South Sudan.
France was one of the only countries to keep its embassy open when conflict within the country broke out in 2013 and again in 2016. Since 1 January 2017, it has consisted of a diplomatic presence post with five staff members.
France supports the mediation efforts of countries in the region through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and African Union. It commends the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and the training of the National Unity Government. France’s action is in line with that of the EU (arms embargo since 1994 on Sudan extended to South Sudan in 2011; application of individual sanctions; support for the peaceful co-existence of the two Sudans).
South Sudan opened an Embassy in France in July 2012.
In 2020, the French community of South Sudan was made up of 50 registered French nationals in the Embassy, who are mainly engaged in humanitarian activities in the country.
Most recent visit to Paris: President Salva Kiir attended the Élysée Summit in December 2013. The Ministry of Education, Mr Deng Deng Hoc, attended UNESCO’s 40th General Conference in Paris in November 2019.
Most recent visits to Juba: Alain Juppé, Ministre d’État, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, represented France in Juba for the independence ceremonies in 2011.
The Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan visited Juba in December 2019, where he was received by President Kiir on 9 December.
Mr Marc Trouyet, Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan. He presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of South Sudan, His Excellency Mr Salva Kiir Mayardit, on 10 September 2019.
Mr Lazaro Akoi Arou Lukuac, Ambassador of South Sudan to the French Republic.
Trade between France and South Sudan is almost non-existent, only amounting to €1.5 million in exports. One of the only French companies working in South Sudan is Total, which has had a sizeable oil concession, Bloc B, since the 1980s. However, no exploration or production activity has started, mainly because of the lack of agreement for sharing production since South Sudan’s independence. Bolloré Logistics is also working in South Sudan, but the number of its employees working there has significantly decreased since 2013.
The Institut Français in Juba, which is located within Juba National University, is a branch of the one in Khartoum and opened in 2012. It is the country’s only international cultural centre. French language courses are taught there and the Institut is active in the capital’s cultural life organizing events with South Sudanese people or member partners of the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
South Sudanese pupils in secondary school may choose French as a second language education (choice with Juba Arabic and Kiswahili).
Updated 24 September 2020
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