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Military regimes favouring 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 4 million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than 2 million deaths over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords; a final Naivasha peace treaty of January 2005 granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held. A separate conflict that broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003 has resulted in at least 200,000 deaths and nearly 2 million displaced; as of late 2005, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation. Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Chad, and armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.


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

Geographic coordinates:

15 00 N, 30 00 E


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

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


853 km

Maritime claims:

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


tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season varies by region (April to November)


generally flat, featureless plain; mountains in far south, northeast and west; desert dominates the north

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: 6.78%
permanent crops: 0.17%
other: 93.05% (2005)

Irrigated land:

18,630 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

dust storms and periodic persistent droughts

Environment - current issues:

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

Geography - note:

largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries


41,236,378 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42.7% (male 8,993,483/female 8,614,022)
15-64 years: 54.9% (male 11,327,679/female 11,297,798)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 536,754/female 466,642) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.3 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.5 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.55% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

34.53 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 1.15 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 61.05 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 58.92 years
male: 57.69 years
female: 60.21 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.72 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.3% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

400,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

23,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)


noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups:

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


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


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: 61.1%
male: 71.8%
female: 50.5% (2003 est.)

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:

Government of National Unity (GNU) - the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a power-sharing government under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the NCP, which came to power by military coup in 1989, is the majority partner; the agreement stipulates national elections for the 2008 - 2009 timeframe.



Administrative divisions:

26 states (wilayat, singular - wilayah); A'ali an Nil (Upper Nile), Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrat (Lakes), Al Jazirah (El Gezira), Al Khartum (Khartoum), Al Qadarif (Gedaref), Al Wahdah (Unity), An Nil al Abyad (White Nile), An Nil al Azraq (Blue Nile), Ash Shamaliyah (Northern), Bahr al Jabal (Bahr al Jabal), Gharb al Istiwa'iyah (Western Equatoria), Gharb Bahr al Ghazal (Western Bahr al Ghazal), Gharb Darfur (Western Darfur), Gharb Kurdufan (Western Kordofan), Janub Darfur (Southern Darfur), Janub Kurdufan (Southern Kordofan), Junqali (Jonglei), Kassala (Kassala), Nahr an Nil (Nile), Shamal Bahr al Ghazal (Northern Bahr al Ghazal), Shamal Darfur (Northern Darfur), Shamal Kurdufan (Northern Kordofan), Sharq al Istiwa'iyah (Eastern Equatoria), Sinnar (Sinnar), Warab (Warab)


1 January 1956 (from Egypt and UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 1 January (1956)


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; under the CPA, Interim National Constitution ratified 5 July 2005; Constitution of Southern Sudan signed December 2005

Legal system:

based on English common law and Shari'a law; as of 20 January 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Shari'a law in the northern states; Shari'a law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; the southern legal system is still developing under the CPA following the civil war; Shari'a law will not apply to the southern states


17 years of age; universal, but noncompulsory

Legislative branch:

bi-cameral body comprising the National Assembly and Council of States (replaced unicameral National Assembly of 360 seats); pending elections and National Election Law, the Presidency appointed 450 members to the National Assembly according to the provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement: 52% NCP; 28% SPLM; 14% other Northerners; 6% other Southerners; 2 representatives from every state constitute the Council of States; terms in each chamber are five years following the first elections
elections: last held 13-22 December 2000 (next to be held 2008-2009 timeframe)
election results: NCP 355, others 5; note - replaced by appointments under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Judicial branch:

Constitutional Court of nine justices; National Supreme Court; National Courts of Appeal; other national courts; National Judicial Service Commission will undertake overall management of the National Judiciary

Economy - overview:

Sudan has turned around a struggling economy with sound economic policies and infrastructure investments, but it still faces formidable economic problems, starting from its low level of per capita output. From 1997 to date, Sudan has been implementing IMF macroeconomic reforms. In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999 recorded its first trade surplus, which, along with monetary policy, has stabilized the exchange rate. Increased oil production, revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones helped sustain GDP growth at 8.6% in 2004. Agricultural production remains Sudan's most important sector, employing 80% of the work force, contributing 39% of GDP, and accounting for most of GDP growth, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Chronic instability - resulting from the long-standing civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian/pagan south, adverse weather, and weak world agricultural prices - ensure that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$84.93 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$22.27 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

7.7% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 38.7%
industry: 20.3%
services: 41% (2003 est.)

Labor force:

11 million (1996 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 80%
industry: 7%
services: 13% (1998 est.)

Unemployment rate:

18.7% (2002 est.)

Population below poverty line:

40% (2004 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

11% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

15.4% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $6.182 billion
expenditures: $5.753 billion; including capital expenditures of $304 million (2005 est.)

Public debt:

79% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

8.5% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production:

3.165 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

2.943 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

401,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

70,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - exports:

275,000 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - proved reserves:

1.6 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

84.95 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

-$658 million (2005 est.)


$6.989 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

China 66.9%, Japan 10.7%, Saudi Arabia 4.4% (2004)


$5.028 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

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

Imports - partners:

China 13%, Saudi Arabia 11.5%, UAE 5.9%, Egypt 5.1%, India 4.8%, Germany 4.5%, Australia 4.1%, Japan 4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.52 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$18.15 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$172 million (2001)

Currency (code):

Sudanese dinar (SDD)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

1,028,900 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1,048,600 (2004)

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: country code - 249; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (2000)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 12, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

3 (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1 (2005)

Internet users:

1.14 million (2005)


86 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 72
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 37
under 914 m: 16 (2005)


1 (2005)


gas 156 km; oil 2,365 km; refined products 810 km (2004)


total: 5,995 km
narrow gauge: 4,595 km 1.067-m gauge; 1,400 km .600-m gauge for cotton plantations (2004)


total: 11,900 km
paved: 4,320 km
unpaved: 7,580 km (1999)


4,068 km (1,723 km open year round on White and Blue Nile rivers) (2005)

Merchant marine:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 11,326 GRT/14,068 DWT
by type: cargo 1, livestock carrier 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 1, Saudi Arabia 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Port Sudan

Military branches:

Sudanese People's Armed Forces (SPAF): Army, Navy, Air Force, Popular Defense Force

Disputes - international:

the effects of Sudan's almost constant ethnic and rebel militia fighting since the mid-twentieth century have penetrated all of its border states that provide shelter for fleeing refugees and cover to disparate domestic and foreign conflicting elements; since 2003, Janjawid armed militia and Sudanese military have driven about 200,000 Darfur region refugees into eastern Chad; large numbers of Sudanese refugees have also fled to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; southern Sudan provides shelter to Ugandans seeking periodic protection from soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia have been delayed by civil and ethnic fighting in Sudan; Kenya's administrative boundary extends into the southern Sudan, creating the "Ilemi Triangle"; Egypt and Sudan retain claims to administer triangular areas that extend north and south of the 1899 Treaty boundary along the 22nd Parallel, but have withdrawn their military presence; Egypt is economically developing the "Hala'ib Triangle" north of the Treaty Line; periodic violent skirmishes with Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations from the Central African Republic along the border

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 110,927 (Eritrea) 5,023 (Chad) 7,983 (Uganda) 14,812 (Ethiopia)
IDPs: 5,300,000 - 6,200,000 (internal conflict since 1980s; ongoing genocide) (2005)