Sudan, Travellers information

Region / Country specific information - Sudan

Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy  Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Sudan map.

Sudan Introduction Top of Page
Background: Military dictatorships promulgating an Islamic government have mostly run the country since independence from the UK in 1956. Over the past two decades, a civil war pitting black Christians and animists in the south against the Arab-Muslims of the north has cost at least 1.5 million lives in war- and famine-related deaths, as well as the displacement of millions of others.
Sudan Geography Top of Page
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 30 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: 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, hydropower
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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries
Sudan People Top of Page
Population: 36,080,373 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.62% (male 8,227,011; female 7,870,783)
15-64 years: 53.29% (male 9,619,218; female 9,608,469)
65 years and over: 2.09% (male 425,898; female 328,994) (2001 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.79% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 37.89 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 10.04 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.29 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2001 est.)



Infant mortality rate: 68.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 56.94 years
male: 55.85 years
female: 58.08 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.35 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.99% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: 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
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 34.6% (1995 est.)


Sudan Government Top of Page
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



Government type: transitional - ruling military junta took power in 1989; government is dominated by members of Sudan's National Islamic Front (NIF), a fundamentalist political organization, which uses the National Congress Party (NCP) as its legal front
Capital: Khartoum
Administrative divisions: 26 states (wilayat, singular - 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 implemented on 30 June 1998 partially suspended 12 December 1999 by President BASHIR
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: 17 years of age; universal, but noncompulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Lt. Gen. Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (since 17 February 1998), Second Vice President Moses MACHAR (since 12 February 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Lt. Gen. Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (since 17 February 1998), Second Vice President Moses MACHAR (since 12 February 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president; note - the National Congress Party (front for the National Islamic Front or NIF) dominates BASHIR's cabinet
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 13-23 December 2000 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR reelected president; percent of vote - Umar Hasan Ahmad al-BASHIR 86.5%, Ja'afar Muhammed NUMAYRI 9.6%, three other candidates received less than a combined 4% of the vote
note: BASHIR assumed supreme executive power in 1989 and retained it through several transitional governments in the early and mid-90s before being popularly elected for the first time in March 1996




Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (400 seats; 275 elected by popular vote, 125 elected by a supra assembly of interest groups known as the National Congress)
elections: last held 13-23 December 2000 (next to be held NA)
election results: NA; few parties participated in the 2000 elections
note: on 12 December 1999, BASHIR dismissed the National Assembly during an internal power struggle between the president and speaker of the National Assembly Hasan al-TURABI


Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Special Revolutionary Courts
Political parties and leaders: the government allows political "associations" under a 1998 law revised in 2000; to obtain government approval parties must accept the constitution and refrain from advocating or using violence against the regime; approved parties include the National Congress Party or NCP [Ibrahim Ahmed UMAR], Popular National Congress [Hassan al-TURABI], and a handful of minor pro-government parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: National Congress Party [Ibrahim Ahmed UMAR] (front for the National Islamic Front or NIF); Popular National Congress [Hassan al-TURABI]; Umma [Sadiq al-MAHDI]; Democratic Unionist Party [Muhammed Uthman AL-MIRGHANI]; National Democratic Alliance [Muhammed Uthman AL-MIRGHANI, chairman]; Sudan People's Liberation Army [Dr. John GARANG]
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, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, 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 MAHAMMAD (recalled to Khartoum in August 1998)
chancery: 2210 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 338-8565
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2406


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, from where they make periodic visits to Khartoum; the US Embassy in Khartoum is 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; the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya is located in the Interim Office Building on Mombasa Road, Nairobi; mailing address - P. O. Box 30137, Box 21A, Unit 64100, APO AE 09831; telephone - [254] (2) 751613; FAX - [254] (2) 743204; 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
Sudan Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Sudan is buffeted by civil war, chronic instability, adverse weather, weak world agricultural prices, a drop in remittances from abroad, and counterproductive economic policies. The private sector's main areas of activity are agriculture (which employs 80% of the work force), trading, and light industry which is mostly processing of agricultural goods. Most of the 1990s were characterized by sluggish economic growth as the IMF suspended lending, declared Sudan a non-cooperative state, and threatened to expel Sudan from the IMF. Starting in 1997, Sudan began implementing IMF macroeconomic reforms which have successfully stabilized inflation at 10% or less. Sudan continues to have limited international credit resources as over 75% of Sudan's debt of $24.9 billion is in arrears and Khartoum's continued prosecution of the civil war works to isolate Sudan. In 1999, Sudan began exporting oil and in 1999-2000 had recorded its first trade surpluses. Current oil production stands at 185,000 barrels per day, of which about 70% is exported and the rest refined for domestic consumption. Despite its many infrastructure problems, Sudan's increased oil production, the return of regular rainfall, and recent investments in irrigation schemes should allow the country to achieve economic growth of 6% in 2001.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $35.7 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 39%
industry: 17%
services: 44% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 11 million (1996 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 80%, industry and commerce 10%, government 6%, unemployed 4% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4% (1996 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.2 billion
expenditures: $1.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments
Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production: 1.76 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 42.05%
hydro: 57.95%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1999)


Electricity - consumption: 1.637 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassara, mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame; sheep, livestock
Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: oil and petroleum products, cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar
Exports - partners: Saudi Arabia 16%, Italy 10%, Germany 5%, France 3%, Thailand 3% (1999)
Imports: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles
Imports - partners: China 14.7%, Libya 14.7%, Saudi Arabia 8.9%, UK 8.7%, France 6.7% (1999)
Debt - external: $24.9 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $187 million (1997)
Currency: Sudanese dinar (SDD)
Currency code: SDD
Exchange rates: Sudanese dinars per US dollar - 257.44 (January 2001), 257.12 (2000), 252.55 (1999), 200.80 (1998), 157.57 (1997), 125.08 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Sudan Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: 400,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 20,000 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: large, well-equipped system by regional standards and being upgraded; cellular communications started in 1996 and have expanded substantially
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 (2000)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 12, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 7.55 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (1997)
Televisions: 2.38 million (1997)
Internet country code: .sd
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 10,000 (2000)
Sudan Transportation Top of Page
Railways: total: 5,311 km
narrow gauge: 4,595 km 1.067-m gauge; 716 km 1.6096-m gauge plantation line
note: the main line linking Khartoum to Port Sudan carries over two-thirds of Sudan's rail traffic

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

Waterways: 5,310 km
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 2 (2000 est.)
Airports: 61 (2000 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 (2000 est.)


Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 25
under 914 m: 9 (2000 est.)


Heliports: 1 (2000 est.)
Sudan Military Top of Page
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: 8,436,732 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 5,194,862 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 398,294 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $550 million (FY98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%
Sudan Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: administrative boundary with Kenya does not coincide with international boundary; Egypt asserts its claim to the "Hala'ib Triangle," a barren area of 20,580 sq km under partial Sudanese administration that is defined by an administrative boundary which supersedes the treaty boundary of 1899
From the CIA World Factbook


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