Sudan [Country Flag of Sudan]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Sudan]



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Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 2,505,810 sq km
land: 2.376 million sq km
water: 129,810 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US

Land boundaries:
total: 7,687 km
border countries: Central African Republic 1,165 km, Chad 1,360 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 628 km, Egypt 1,273 km, Eritrea 605 km, Ethiopia 1,606 km, Kenya 232 km, Libya 383 km, Uganda 435 km

Coastline: 853 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season (April to October)

Terrain: generally flat, featureless plain; mountains in east and west

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Red Sea 0 m
highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m

Natural resources: petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold

Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 30% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 19,460 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: dust storms

Environment—current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries


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Population: 33,550,552 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 7,769,266; female 7,449,510)
15-64 years: 52% (male 8,818,018; female 8,778,485)
65 years and over: 3% (male 410,170; female 325,103) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.73% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 39.94 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.88 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.26 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 72.64 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 55.97 years
male: 55 years
female: 56.98 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.68 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups: black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)

Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of Arabization in process

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 34.6% (1995 est.)


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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

Data code: SU

Government type: transitional—previously ruling military junta; presidential and National Assembly elections held in March 1996; new constitution drafted by Presidential Committee, will go before public in national referendum in May-June 1998

National capital: Khartoum

Administrative divisions: 26 states (wilayat, singular—wilayat or wilayah*); A'ali an Nil, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrat, Al Jazirah, Al Khartum, Al Qadarif, Al Wahdah, An Nil al Abyad, An Nil al Azraq, Ash Shamaliyah*, Bahr al Jabal, Gharb al Istiwa'iyah, Gharb Bahr al Ghazal, Gharb Darfur, Gharb Kurdufan, Janub Darfur, Janub Kurdufan, Junqali, Kassala, Nahr an Nil, Shamal Bahr al Ghazal, Shamal Darfur, Shamal Kurdufan, Sharq al Istiwa'iyah, Sinnar, Warab

Independence: 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1956)

Constitution: 12 April 1973, suspended following coup of 6 April 1985; interim constitution of 10 October 1985 suspended following coup of 30 June 1989; new constitution being drafted by Presidential Committee

Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; as of 20 January 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Islamic law in the northern states; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: NA years of age; universal, but noncompulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lt. General Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (since 17 February 1998), Second Vice President (Police) Maj. General George KONGOR AROP (since NA February 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Lt. General Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (since 17 February 1998), Second Vice President (Police) Maj. General George KONGOR AROP (since NA February 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note—President al-BASHIR's government is dominated by members of Sudan's National Islamic Front, a fundamentalist political organization formed from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1986; front leader Hasan al-TURABI dominates much of Khartoum's overall domestic and foreign policies; President al-BASHIR named a new cabinet on 20 April 1996 which includes members of the National Islamic Front, serving and retired military officers, and civilian technocrats; on 8 March 1998, he reshuffled the cabinet and brought in several former rebel and opposition members as ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 6-17 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)
election results: Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR elected president; percent of vote—Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR 75.7%; note—about forty other candidates ran for president
note: al-BASHIR, as chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC), assumed power on 30 June 1989 and served concurrently as chief of state, chairman of the RCC, prime minister, and minister of defense until 16 October 1993 when he was appointed president by the RCC; upon its dissolution on 16 October 1993, the RCC's executive and legislative powers were devolved to the president and the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), Sudan's appointed legislative body, which has since been replaced by the National Assembly which was elected in March 1996

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (400 seats; 275 elected by popular vote, 125 elected by a supraassembly of interest groups known as the National Congress)
elections: last held 6-17 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)
election results: NA; the March 1996 elections were held on a nonparty basis; parties are banned in the new National Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Special Revolutionary Courts

Political parties and leaders: none; banned following 30 June 1989 coup

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Islamic Front, Hasan al-TURABI

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador MAHDI IBRAHIM Mohamed
chancery: 2210 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 338-8565
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2406
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US: US officials at the US Embassy in Khartoum were moved for security reasons in February 1996 and have been relocated to the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Cairo, Egypt; they visit Khartoum monthly; the US Embassy in Khartoum (located on Sharia Abdul Latif Avenue; mailing address—P.O. Box 699, Khartoum; APO AE 09829; telephone—[249] (11) 774611 or 774700; FAX—[249] (11) 774137) is kept open by local employees; the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya is located at the corner of Moi Avenue and Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi; mailing address - P.O. Box 30137, Unit 64100, Nairobi; telephone—[254] (2) 334141; FAX - [254] (2) 340838; the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt is located at (North Gate) 8, Kamel El-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo; mailing address—Unit 64900, APO AE 09839-4900; telephone—[20] (2) 3557371; FAX—[20] (2) 3573200

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side


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Economy—overview: Sudan is buffeted by civil war, chronic political instability, adverse weather, high inflation, a drop in remittances from abroad, and counterproductive economic policies. The private sector's main areas of activity are agriculture and trading, with most private industrial investment predating 1980. Agriculture employs 80% of the work force. Industry mainly processes agricultural items. Sluggish economic performance over the past decade, attributable largely to declining annual rainfall, has kept per capita income at low levels. A large foreign debt and huge arrearages continue to cause difficulties. In 1990 the International Monetary Fund took the unusual step of declaring Sudan noncooperative because of its nonpayment of arrearages to the Fund. After Sudan backtracked on promised reforms in 1992-93, the IMF threatened to expel Sudan from the Fund. To avoid expulsion, Khartoum agreed to make payments on its arrears to the Fund, liberalize exchange rates, and reduce subsidies, measures it has partially implemented. The government's continued prosecution of the civil war and its growing international isolation continued to inhibit growth in the nonagricultural sectors of the economy during 1997. Hyperinflation has raised consumer prices above the reach of most. In 1997, a top priority was to develop potentially lucrative oilfields in south-central Sudan; the government was seeking foreign partners to exploit the oil sector.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$26.6 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$875 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 17%
services: 50% (1992 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 27% (mid-1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 11 million (1996 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 80%, industry and commerce 10%, government 6%
note: labor shortages for almost all categories of skilled employment (1983 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (FY92/93 est.)

revenues: $482 million
expenditures: $1.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $30 million (1996)

Industries: cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining

Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 500,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.305 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 43 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cotton, groundnuts, sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sesame; sheep

total value: $620 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: cotton 23%, sesame 22%, livestock/meat 13%, gum arabic 5% (1996)
partners: Saudi Arabia 20%, UK 14%, China 11%, Italy 8% (1996)

total value: $1.5 billion (1996)
commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum products, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles (1996)
partners: Saudi Arabia 10%, South Korea 7%, Germany 6%, Egypt 6% (1996)

Debt—external: $20.3 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $387 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Sudanese pound (£Sd) = 100 piastres

Exchange rates: Sudanese pounds (£Sd) per US$1—official rate: 1,602.70 (July 1997), 1,250.79 (1996), 580.87 (1995), 289.61 (1994), 159.31 (1993); market rate: 1,612.90 (July 1997), 1,250.79 (1996), 571.02 (August 1995), 289.61 (1994), 159.31 (1993), 97.43 (1992)
note: the market rate is a unified exchange rate determined by a committee of local bankers, without official intervention, and is quoted uniformly by all commercial banks

Fiscal year: calendar year
note: prior to July 1995, Sudan had a fiscal year that began on 1 July and ended on 30 June; as a transition to their new fiscal year, a six-month budget was implemented for 1 July-31 December 1995; the new calendar year (1 January-31 December) fiscal year became effective 1 January 1996


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Telephones: 77,215 (1983 est.)

Telephone system: large, well-equipped system by African standards, but barely adequate and poorly maintained by modern standards
domestic: consists of microwave radio relay, cable, radiotelephone communications, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 11, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 6.67 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 3

Televisions: 2.06 million (1992 est.)


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total: 5,516 km
narrow gauge: 4,800 km 1.067-m gauge; 716 km 1.6096-m gauge plantation line

total: 11,900 km
paved: 4,320 km
unpaved: 7,580 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 5,310 km navigable

Pipelines: refined products 815 km

Ports and harbors: Juba, Khartoum, Kusti, Malakal, Nimule, Port Sudan, Sawakin

Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 38,093 GRT/49,727 DWT
ships by type: cargo 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 65 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 53
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 11 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Popular Defense Force Militia

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 7,690,798 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 4,733,457 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 363,752 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: administrative boundary with Kenya does not coincide with international boundary; administrative boundary with Egypt does not coincide with international boundary creating the "Hala'ib Triangle," a barren area of 20,580 sq km