Sudan officially the Republic of Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest.

Background History

Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January 2011 and indicated overwhelming support for independence. South Sudan became independent on 9 July 2011. Since southern independence Sudan has been combating rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union in December 2007. Peacekeeping troops have struggled to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional in scope and has brought instability to eastern Chad. Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries primarily Ethiopia and Chad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of the Sudan
  • conventional short form: Sudan
  • local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan
  • local short form: As-Sudan
  • former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan


  • name: Khartoum
  • population: 5,021,000
  • geographic coordinates: 15 36 N, 32 32 E
  • time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and the UK)

Government Type:

  • Federal republic ruled by the National Congress Party the (NCP), which came to power by military coup in 1989

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (since 16 October 1993)
  • head of government: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (since 16 October 1993)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: bicameral National Legislature consists of a Council of States and a National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Constitutional Court of nine justices; National Supreme Court; National Courts of Appeal; other national courts

People & Society


  • 34,206,710 (global rank: 37)
  • growth rate: 1.884% (global rank: 60)


  • noun: Sudanese
  • adjective: Sudanese

Major Cities:

  • Khartoum (capital): 5.021 million

Ethnic Groups:

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


  • Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority


  • Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 62.57 years (global rank: 182)
  • male: 60.58 years
  • female: 64.67 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 55.63 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 36)
  • male: 61.24 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 49.74 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 1.1% (2009 est.) (global rank: 45)
  • people living with AIDS: 260,000 (2009 est.) (global rank: 22)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 61.1%
  • male: 71.8%
  • female: 50.5%


Sudan is an extremely poor country that has had to deal with social conflict, civil war, and the July 2011 secession of South Sudan - the region of the country that had been responsible for about three-fourths of the former Sudan's total oil production. The oil sector had driven much of Sudan's GDP growth since it began exporting oil in 1999. For nearly a decade, the economy boomed on the back of increases in oil production, high oil prices, and significant inflows of foreign direct investment. Following South Sudan's secession, Sudan has struggled to maintain economic stability, because oil earnings now provide a far lower share of the country's need for hard currency and for budget revenues. Sudan is attempting to generate new sources of revenues, such as from gold mining, while carrying out an austerity program to reduce expenditures. Services and utilities have played an increasingly important role in the economy. Agricultural production continues to employ 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. 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 and shortages of foreign exchange continue. Sudan also faces rising inflation, which has led to a number of small scale protests in Khartoum in recent months. 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 ensure that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years to come.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $97.21 billion (global rank: )
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $3,000 (global rank: 170)
  • real growth rate: -0.2% (global rank: 199)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 44.7%, industry: 45%, services: 10.3%


  • currency: Sudanese Pound (SDG)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 2.8


  • population below poverty line: 40%
  • unemployment rate: 18.7%

Agricultural Products:

  • cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame; sheep and other livestock


  • oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly

Exports Commodities:

  • oil and petroleum products; cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar

Imports Commodities:

  • foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles, wheat



  • north-eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea


  • total: 1,861,484 sq km (global rank: 16)
  • comparative: slightly less than one-fifth the size of the US


  • hot and dry; arid desert; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Natural Resources:

  • petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold; hydropower

Current Environmental Issues:

  • inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: the effects of Sudan's almost constant ethnic and rebel militia fighting since the mid-20th century have penetrated all of the neighboring states; Chad wishes to be a helpful mediator in resolving the Darfur conflict, and in 2010 established a joint border monitoring force with Sudan, which has helped to reduce cross-border banditry and violence; as of 2006, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda provided shelter for over half a million Sudanese refugees, which includes 240,000 Darfur residents driven from their homes by Janjawid armed militia and the Sudanese military forces; as of January 2011, Sudan, in turn, hosted about 138,700 Eritreans, 43,000 Chadians, and smaller numbers of Ethiopians; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia proceed slowly due to civil and ethnic fighting in eastern Sudan; Sudan claims but Egypt de facto administers security and economic development of Halaib region north of the 22nd parallel boundary; periodic violent skirmishes with Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic; South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan
  • refugees (country of origin): 162,000 (Eritrea); 43,000 (Chad); 11,009 (Ethiopia)
  • internally displaced persons: more than 4 million (civil war 1983-2005; ongoing conflict in Darfur region)
  • human trafficking: Sudan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Sudanese women and girls, particularly those from rural areas or who are internally displaced, are vulnerable to forced labor as domestic workers in homes throughout the country; some of these women and girls are subsequently sexually abused by male occupants of the household or forced to engage in commercial sex acts; Sudanese women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude in Middle Eastern countries, such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and to forced sex trafficking in European countries; some Sudanese men who voluntarily migrate to the Middle East as low-skilled laborers face conditions indicative of forced labor; Sudanese children transit Yemen en route to Saudi Arabia, where they are used in forced begging and street vending, and reportedly work in exploitative labor situations for Sudanese traders in the Central African Republic; Sudan is a transit and destination country for Ethiopian and Eritrean women subjected to domestic servitude in Sudan and Middle Eastern countries; Sudan is a destination for Ethiopian, Somali, and possibly Thai women subjected to forced prostitution

Published: Monday, September 08, 2008