South Sudan Officially Allocated .SS ccTLD

The Republic of South Sudan has officially been designated the .SS country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) in an announcement from the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

As well as the ccTLD, South Sudan was allocated country codes for passports and financial transactions. These codes are a basic requirement for the world’s newest country, the Republic of South Sudan.

Remarking on what the establishment of a country code means for a new country like South Sudan, Gérard Lang, Chair of the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, explains, “ISO country codes are fundamental for the international recognition and activities of a country. Without them, a country cannot have a currency code or Internet ccTLD, or even issue machine-readable passports.

“Country codes are essential in banking transactions, as they form part of codes like IBAN (international bank account number), BIC (universal bank identifier). They are also used in various legal, cultural and scientific exchanges which range from numbering of archaeological sites to online identification of a user’s geo-location. One could say that country codes are one of the building blocks underpinning globalisation and, in particular, communication and exchanges on the web.

“It was therefore crucial to establish ISO country codes for South Sudan as soon as possible. Now that the process has been finalised, the country can go ahead with other basic tasks like issuing a currency code,” emphasised Mr. Lang.

ISO 3166 country codes are widely used as abbreviations to identify countries in contexts such as postal addresses, transportation, passports, library coding systems and online payment systems. Many codes, such as those for currencies and banking, are based on these. They have largely replaced some 70 different systems of country codes developed over time by individual countries, and public and private sector organisations, eliminating potential for confusion.

The ISO codes are assigned under transparent procedures by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency which makes them available free of charge. ISO assigns the codes, but does not determine whether a territory is a country. ISO 3166 codes are automatically assigned to any new member admitted to United Nations and its name listed in either the Terminology Bulletin Country Names or in the Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use (M49 numerical country code assignments) maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division.

The two-letter codes are the most commonly used, while the three-letter codes are for special uses where a closer identification of the code with the full name of the country concerned is required. They are used notably in machine-readable passports meeting the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization.