macrohistory & world report

Republic of the Sudan

Map of the Republic of Sudan

Sudan (capital Khartoum) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Sudan is an extremely poor country that has experienced protracted social conflict, civil war, and, in July 2011, the loss of three-quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan. The oil sector had driven much of Sudan's GDP growth since 1999. For nearly a decade, the economy boomed on the back of rising oil production, high oil prices, and significant inflows of foreign direct investment. Since the economic shock of South Sudan's secession, Sudan has struggled to stabilize its economy and make up for the loss of foreign exchange earnings. The interruption of oil production in South Sudan in 2012 for over a year and the consequent loss of oil transit fees further exacerbated the fragile state of Sudan's economy. Sudan is also subject to comprehensive US sanctions. Sudan is attempting to develop non-oil sources of revenues, such as gold mining, while carrying out an austerity program to reduce expenditures. The world's largest exporter of gum Arabic, Sudan produces 75-80% of the world's total output. Agriculture continues to employ 80% of the work force. Sudan introduced a new currency, still called the Sudanese pound, following South Sudan's secession, but the value of the currency has fallen since its introduction. Khartoum formally devalued the currency in June 2012, when it passed austerity measures that included gradually repealing fuel subsidies. Sudan also faces rising inflation, which reached 47% on an annual basis in November 2012, but subsided to 25% in 2013. Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Darfur, and the Blue Nile states, lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture keep close to half of the population at or below the poverty line."

Corruption Index
2011: 1.6 (10 is perfect, Sudan among the worst)

Economic growth
2011: -0.2%
2010: 6.5%
2009: 4.6%

Oil exports
2009: 383,900 barrels per day (ranking 35th in the world)

Import/export balance
2011: exports 91.4% of imports in cash value – an unfavorable balance

Health expenditures
2009: 7.3% of GDP


Ethnic groups
Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Fallata

Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority

Living in an urban area
2010: 40% of total population

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 4.52 persons per 1,000 population per year.

Recent History

Independence from Britain in 1956.

In 2003 an independence movement in Darfur attacked government targets. Darfur's population is Muslim, with some Arabs and some blacks. An age old dispute existed between black farmers and the mostly nomadic Arabs over land and rights.  The Darfur rebels claimed they were being neglected by Khartoum, Sudan's capital and predominantly Arab, and they claimed that Khartoum was oppressing the blacks in favor of Arabs. The rebels won the attention of the government. The government supported "self-defense" militias who fought the independence movement. They are accused of "cleansing" areas of blacks and taking as their reward loot, land and access to women in the form of rape.  Sudan's government has blamed the assaults on nomadic, camel-riding, semi-automatic rifle toting Arabs called the Janjaweed, described by Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, as "thieves and gangsters." The government has promised to do something about the assaults." Meanwhile, according to a BBC News item, published on April 5, 2005, "More than two million people have left their homes and many thousands have been killed."

July 2005: Journalist Andrea Mitchell of NBC News asked President Omar el-Bashir "Why should the US believe the Sudanese government will stop the killing when the government is still supporting the militia?" Sudanese security guards grabbed her from behind and carried her out of the room, her feet dangling off the ground, while US State Department officials traveling to Sudan with Mitchell and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shouted at them to leave Mitchell alone

March 5, 2010: The U.N. reports that half of south Sudan's population is desperately short of food. The News Hour reports a "fourfold increase in hunger this year, due to drought and growing violence, violence stemming from age-old local conflicts and, some fear, echoes of the north-south civil war."

July 9, 2011: South Sudan becomes independent of the Republic of Sudan.

The World Factbook
BBC News

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.