Economy and infrastructure

Sudan today

Historically, agriculture was the main source of income and employment in Sudan. It still makes up a third of the country's economy, reportedly employing 60 to 80 percent of the workforce. Cotton is the principal export crop. Other major cash crops are cottonseed, sesame, sugarcane, peanuts and dates. The main subsistence crops are sorghum, millet and wheat. Unstable climatic conditions and low mechnization make subsistence agriculture a susceptible sector. Livestock raising, pursued throughout Sudan, is still widely following traditional patterns. Sudan has the second largest camel population in the world. Substantial exports of live camels go to Egypt, Libya and other gulf countries.

Oil has been the backbone of Sudan's economy since the early 2000s. With the independence of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan lost 75% of its oilfields. But it still is an oil-producing country, and it is also transporting and refining oil from South Sudan. The primary importers of Sudanese oil are Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia and India.

The oil sector aside, Sudan's most important industries are agricultural processing and various light industries located mostly in the industrial areas around Khartoum. The country also produces its own vehicles, both small cars and trucks, under the name of Giad.

Sudan has great mineral resources. In the past decade, prospection for gold revealed substantial deposits in many regions of the country. Next to the onset of industrial exploitation, this has resulted in a veritable gold rush, which has lured thousands of artisanal miners into to desert areas of northern Sudan. Other minerals like chromium, kaolin and copper are exploited, especially for export to China, which is Sudan's most important trading partner.

In the past two decades, Sudan has struggled to expand its transport system, replacing desert tracks by tarmac roads connecting the different regions and the major cities of the country. It is also seeking to expand its capacity to generate electricity, most recently with the highly controversial Merowe Dam at the Fourth Nile Cataract, which is the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa. More dams are planned further up- and downstream. 

Geography

Sudan is the sixteenth-largest country in the world and the third-largest in Africa, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its southern part belongs to the Sahel zone; the regions in the north are the southeasternmost part of the Sahara. Read more ...

Climate

Sudan lies within the tropics. Its climate is primarily dictated by the dry northeasterly trade winds from the Arabian Peninsula and the moist southwesterly monsoon winds from the Congo river basin, which bring the typical summer rains. Read more ...

Population

Of the estimated 38 million Sudanese, more than 5 million live in Greater Khartoum. About 40% of the population are younger than 15 years old. Despite Arabic being the main language and Islam the main religion, the Sudanese society is multiethnic. Read more ...

Economy and infrastructure

Historically, agriculture was the main source of income and employment in Sudan. Since the early 2000s, oil has been the backbone of the economy. The oil sector aside, the country's most important industries are agricultural processing and various light industries. Read more ...

Politics and society

Officially, Sudan is a democracy, organised as a federal republic with a directly elected president. Omar al-Bashir came to power after a military coup in 1989. He also won the first multi-party presidential election in 2010 as well as the most recent election in 2015. Read more ...

Islam in Sudan

97% of Sudan's population are Muslim, with the vast majority adhering to the Sunni denomination. An important aspect of Sudanese Islam is Sufism, which is considered to be a very tolerant persuasion. Divorced from personal beliefs, Islam has become deeply politicised in Sudan. Read more ...