Sudan’s 2007 GDP per capita (in terms of purchasing power parity) is ranked 128th in the world with $417. For comparison, GDP per capita in the US $43,500 the same year, ranked 8th in the world and 1st among G8 countries.
Sudan has 40.2 million inhabitants. 52% of Sudanese are black Africans and 39% are Arabs.
38.9% of Sudanese are illiterate. Interestingly, almost 50% of the females above the age of 15 are illiterate.
Life expectancy at birth
Average life expectancies for newborn males and females are 49.38 and 51.23 years, respectively.
Main Language Spoken
Sudan’s official language is Arabic. Many African dialects are also common, such as Nubian and Ta Bedawie.
Agriculture accounts for about 40% of GDP, followed industry (mainly cement, timber processing and leather goods) and oil.
Main exports and imports
Crude oil accounts for 70% of exports and is the main target for foreign direct investments. Petroleum products add 16% to total export revenues, followed by some agricultural products such as cotton and sesame.
Sudan’s imports exceed its export by 6.5 times. The main imports are machinery and equipment (35%), manufactured goods (20%) and transport equipment (18%).
The main trading partner is China, which is the destiny for about 75% of Sudan’s exports.
70% of Sudanese are Sunni Muslims. 5% of the population, mainly in the south and the capital Khartoum are Christian. The remaining 25% practice kinds of indigenous beliefs.
Transportation and communication system
Sudan’s infrastructure is rather poor. In this 2.5 million sq km country, only 4,320 km of paved roads and 5,978 km of railroads. To illustrate another oil exporter with roughly the same area, former Soviet Kazakhstan has 84,104 km of paved roads and 13,700 km of railroads.
Its telecommunication system is a bit more developed and considered as rather good in the region. There are about 7.5 million mobile telephones and an internet penetration of 9%.
Rates of inflation
Following the 2007 introduction of the Sudanese Pound, its inflation rate is much more moderate than before and is estimated as 8% annually, as high as Hungary and Paraguay.
Health care and hospitals
Sudan’s social system is of extremely low standards. While epidemics such as Malaria and Polio are extremely common, public health expenditure amounts to less than 5% of GDP and there is only one doctor for every 5,000 inhabitants.
Infant mortality rate
Sudan is ranked the world’s 15th in infant mortality rate, which amounts for a shocking figure of 86 deaths per 1,000 births.
The average Sudanese household has 6.3 occupants. Most of the population (60%) is rural. Most of rural population lives in single-room houses maid out of mud and straws, obviously without in-house toilet facilities.
Cultural and economic characteristics of Sudan
Although it holds elections for presidency, Sudan can be almost defined as a Muslim military dictatorship which keeps warm relations with Islamic fundamentalism and Al-Qaida. Thanks primarily to its oil reserves it is the fastest-growing economy of the region. Nevertheless, the country is occupied with security issues and ethnical conflicts, mainly between its Arab and Black inhabitants.
Since 80% of the workforce is traditionally employed in the agricultural sector, Sudan’s unemployment rate is still comparably low. Despite lack of sound statistical data, it is estimated to fall from 5%. However, the average annual income is $330, implies great poverty, in particular among the Blacks African minority.
Sudan’s government is notoriously known as one of the most corrupted regimes worldwide. Fortunately, and again as a result of its oil reserves, the country is experiencing international cooperation; extensive FDIs in economic projects and a membership in the International Monetary Fund are Sudan’s main methods to reduce its external debt (debt-to-GSP ratio of 134%) and still problematic balance of payment. Surge in oil prices took the country a step forward, although investment opportunities are numerous in all sectors of the economy. Reasonable economic leadership should focus here on diversifying the economy, reducing the overdependence on petroleum and building modern infrastructures and social system, partially to prevent epidemics such as AIDS (about 3% of the population already carries the virus). President al-Bashir’s regime support massive privatization, but government security expenditure and US-led sanctions (due to Sudan’s support of Al-Qaida and Sudanese militias) levy on any multidimensional economic or monetary reform. In addition, it appears that although al-Bashir is interested in developing its country’s oil production, little is done to build a modern economy and improve the quality of life outside of Khartoum.
Datamonitor. “Sudan: A PEST Overview.” Marketline, August 2007. 1 October 2008 <http://www.marketlineinfo.com>
Euromonitor. “Sudan Country Profile.” Euromonitor International, 4 July 2008. 1 October 2008 <http://www.portal.euromonitor.com>
Karrar A., Abbadi, B., Elhag, A.A. “Brief Overview of Sudan Economy and Future Prospects for Agricultural Development.” Khartoum Food Air Forum,8 June 2008. 1 October 2008 <http://nutrition.tufts.edu/docs/pdf/famine/food_aid_forum_kit/papers/9__brief_overview_of_sudan_economy_and_future_prospects_for_agricultural_development.pdf>
International Monetary Fund. “Sudan and the IMF.” International Monetary Fund, last updated 28 July 2008. 1 October 2008 <http://www.imf.org/external/country/SDN/index.htm>
Islamic Relief USA. “Sudan.” Islamic Relief USA. 1 October 2008 <http://www.irw.org/wherewework/sudan>
World Health Organization. “World Health Statistics 2008.” WHO Press, 20 May 2008. 1 October 2008 <http://www.who.int/entity/whosis/whostat/EN_WHS08_Full.pdf>
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