Dr. Machar obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering in 1977from Khartoum University. He then won a scholarship in the United Kingdom where he also earned his Master’s Degree in Production Management and Manufacturing Technology from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He further went on to earn his PhD in Strategic Planning in Industry from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.
Being a political activist from the days of his secondary school in Sudan in late 1960s; an activism he also continued during his higher education studies in Sudan and in the United Kingdom by 1983 before earning his PhD in 1984, he actively joined a newly formed SPLM/SPLA in 1983under the leadership of late Chairman, Dr. John Garang de Mabior. Machar participated in establishing the first office for the Movement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and later on its humanitarian wing in Kenya and so on.
After conducting a military training in Ethiopia and was commissioned as Major in SPLA, he later on became the Zonal Commander for Western Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan from mid-1980s. He rose to rank of General in SPLA. He also became a member of the former Political/Military High Command in the Movement.
A democratic federalist, Machar was among the leading members of the SPLM/SPLA who championed the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan. This became his main objective for decades throughout his political struggle as a leader.
In 2005, after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM/SPLA led by late Dr. Garang, and the Sudanese government led by former President, Omer Hassen al-Bashir, and after the untimely demise of Dr. Garang, three weeks after taking oath of office as President of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Dr. Machar became the Vice President. He deputized the current President of the Republic, His Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who was the Vice President then and promoted to replace late Dr. Garang as President of GoSS.
In 2010, he became the running mate to President Kiir during which the President won the regional government’s presidential election with a landslide victory.
Machar, as Vice President, was also put in charge of the high-level executive team for the implementation of the CPA with Khartoum co-chairing the joint team with Vice President Ali Osman Taha. He later on also chaired the Southern Sudan High-level Referendum Taskforce which prepared the people for the conduct of the referendum vote to choose between unity of the Sudan and secession of South Sudan. Subsequently, the right to self-determination was finally and successfully exercised in an internationally monitored referendum on 9th January, 2011, in accordance with the CPA. The people of South Sudan overwhelmingly voted for independence from Sudan by over 98% of the votes in favor of secession. This led to the proclamation of the nation’s independence on 9th July, 2011, by H.E. President Salva Kiir.
After South Sudan attained independence, Dr. Machar was reconfirmed as the Vice President of the newly born Republic, and currently the First Vice President in accordance with the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).