Sudan, with an area of 1,861,484 sq km, is the third largest country on the African continent and sits at the crossroads of sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world. Sudan has international borders with seven countries: Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad and Libya. On the eastern edge, 550 miles of coastline with the Red Sea position Sudan as an important bridge between Africa and the Middle East. Sudan’s estimated population of 37,289,406 predominantly descends from both African and Arab groups. While Arabic language is spoken by most Sudanese, there are more than 70 linguistic and ethnic groups present across the country, reflecting the diversity of the nation.
The capital Khartoum lies at the confluence of White and Blue Niles and together with Khartoum North and Omdurman, "the three towns,” forms the cultural and industrial heart of the nation. The country is endowed with rich natural resources, including natural gas, gold, silver, chromite, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt, granite, nickel, tin and Arabic gum. It enjoys fertile lands, abundant livestock and an active manufacturing industry. On the other hand, Sudan faces a number of environmental challenges related to climate change, desertification and recurrent droughts and floods.
Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has experienced alternating forms of authoritarian and democratic governments. Sudan’s period of conflict (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) stands as one of the longest in Africa’s post-independence history. In 2011, under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the southern states formed the Republic of South Sudan. While this removed the key conflict in Sudan, disputes in Darfur, South Kordofan and areas bordering South Sudan such as Abyei are still ongoing. The country hosts two peacekeeping missions, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).The peace process in Sudan gained new momentum in 2011 with the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and the subsequent establishment of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in 2012.
With the declaration of independence of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan total area was reduced from 2,500,000 square km to 1,881,000 square km. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the population of Sudan is projected to grow to 38,435,252 people in 2015. After the secession, Sudan lost 75 per cent of the oil resources, 90 percent of export earnings and nearly 50 percent of revenue. In Sudan, Oil accounts for nearly 15 percent of industrial value added. Thus, the Sudanese economy started to suffer losses from the withdrawal of oil revenues and annual percentage of growth rate of GDP at market prices based on constant local currency. (Aggregates are based on constant 2005 U.S. dollars) decreased from 7.8% in 2008 to 3.1% in 2014. Moreover, the unemployment rate reached 19.2 per cent in 2014. (Ministry of Labour).
According to the International Monetary Fund, the Sudan’s external debt stood at $45 billion at end - 2013 which is Equal to 691 percent of exports and to 64 percent of GDP. Almost 88 percent of debt in arrears and IMF & World Bank has classified Sudan as a country in debt distress, and in need of debt relief. The debt burden continues to be a significant development constraint as arrears to the World Bank and other development partners constrain access to concessional financing. Thus, a solution to the debt problem has been seen by many as a means to improve prospects for growth and poverty reduction. See more >
Sudan stood at the lower end of the latest Human Development Index (HDI) (March, 2014), ranking 166 out of 187 countries included world-wide. According to the report, average life expectancy stands at 62.1 years, compared to 59.4 for low-HDI countries. The expected and mean years of schooling is 7.3 and 3.1 respectively in comparison to the 9.0 and 4.2 average for lower end countries, while Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (2011 PPP $) is $ 3,428 in comparison to $ 2,904 for those in the same bracket. According to Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 46.5 percent of the population of Sudan is found to fall below the poverty line, with 26.5 percent of the urban population and 57.6 percent of the rural population falling below the poverty line. The prevalence of under nourishment was thirty one and thirty four percent for the urban and rural populations, respectively. See more >
The humanitarian situation in Sudan remains one of the most complex emergencies globally, and 4.8 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017. Sudan faces two major overlapping humanitarian challenges: one triggered by new and protracted wide-scale population displacement and another due to climatic and socio-cultural conditions leading to crisis levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. The scale and long-term nature of displacement, especially in Darfur, which has not been matched by economic opportunities, has exposed displaced people to hardship and uncertainty about their future. This is putting an additional strain on the 3.6 million people currently suffering from food insecurity, and the 2.2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition.
In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, violence has resulted in new displacements in government-controlled areas. In areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement—North (SPLM-N), which humanitarian organizations have not been able to access since conflict started in 2011, the humanitarian situation is reportedly critical. See more >