Country Focus Data: Sudan

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Khartoum.

Demography: Population 35.1 million, 2.84% growth rate (2000 estimates); Arabic (official) diverse dialects; Sunni Muslim (70%), indigenous, Christian religions.

Geography: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea; tropical in south, arid desert in north; flat plain, with mountains in east and west.

Government: Transitional from military to representative. Chief of state and head of government is President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry under Minister Magzoub al-Khalifa. In addition, 26 state agricultural ministries are responsible for policy implementation and agricultural extension work at the local level.

Economy: Agriculture, the largest single economic sector, employs 80% to 90% of the country’s work force, accounts for 35% of gross domestic product and makes up 90% of Sudan’s exports and foreign exchange earnings. Civil war and chronic political instability have hampered economic development in non-agricultural areas, while adverse weather, particularly in the past few years, has hurt the mainstay agricultural sector. The government, prompted by international lenders, has adopted modest liberalization and privatization programs, but many activities, including large agricultural operations, remain state-controlled.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$940 (purchasing power parity), 3% growth rate, 20% inflation (1999 estimates). Unemployment has not been estimated since 1992-93, when the rate stood at 30%. Labor shortages are a problem in many skilled job categories.

Currency: Sudanese dinar. July 16, 2001 exchange rate: 257.41 dinars per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$580 million (f.o.b. 1999), cotton, sesame, livestock, oil, gum arabic.

Imports: U.S.$1.4 billion (c.i.f.1999), foodstuffs, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, medicines, chemicals.

Major crops/agricultural products: Cotton, sorghum, wheat, sesame, millet.

Wheat: Production in the past three years averaged about 215,000 tonnes a year, with total use averaging 933,000 and imports meeting the difference. Area and production have dropped dramatically in the past decade, due to on high inflation and adverse weather.

Coarse grains: Sorghum is the food staple. Production in the past three years averaged 2.45 million tonnes annually, with use at an average of 2.55 million a year. Sudan typically exports between 100,000 to as much as 500,000 tonnes a year, but drought in the past two years has forced the country to stop exports and draw down stocks.

Transportation: Highways, 11,900 km, 4,320 paved; rail, 5,311 km, mostly 1.067-m gauge, with the Khartoum-Port Sudan line carrying more than 67% of total rail traffic; Port Sudan, Juba, Malakal are main ports.

1,000 tonnes















2001-02 marketing year estimates.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture