Cities and Urbanization
Due to the recurring droughts and turmoil of war over the past 30 years and the resulting marked rural exodus, Sudan is experiencing immense urbanization. The urbanization rate was 34.6% (HDR) in 2018. The agglomerate Khartoum, a tri-city at the confluence of the White and Blue Nile, consisting of Khartoum, Omdurman and Al-Khartoum Bahri, is the fourth largest agglomeration in Africa with over 8 million residents. The rapid economic development at the beginning of the millennium caused by the oil revenues resulted in a massive construction boom in Khartoum. The economic decline that set in with the secession of the south, however, left the temporary dream of a Dubai on the Nileburst again. Urban development measures, especially for drinking water supply, lagged behind the rapid growth. Due to the massive influx of internally displaced persons, almost one in five Sudanese lives in partly large slums on the outskirts of the city.
After the independence of the South, many South Sudanese emigrated from Khartoum to South Sudan. Due to the current unrest in the neighboring country, however, a large number of South Sudanese have stranded at former “departure points” in Khartoum that have become squatters. In addition, since December 2013, many South Sudanese fled back to Khartoum.
Other important cities in the country are Port Sudan on the Red Sea, whose region has the highest rate of urbanization, Kassala, Wad Medani and El Gedaref in the east of the country, El Obeid in central Sudan, Nyala and El Fascher in Darfur and Wadi Halfa on the border with Egypt.
The transport infrastructure, especially outside the larger cities, is only marginally developed and is now threatened with collapse as a result of the severe economic crisis. For the mostly decrepit buses, as the main carrier of the public transport system, spare parts have become unaffordable and therefore, and also because of the shortage of petrol, run less and less.
The infrequent railroad is almost insignificant for passenger traffic. The rail network of 5978 km in length is the longest in the whole of Africa, but it dates back to colonial times, mostly as a narrow-gauge railway, and is in poor condition. The economically interesting route Khartoum – Port Sudan is currently being modernized, mainly with Chinese help, which is expected to stimulate the country’s economic development. After only dilapidated 40-year-old trains were available in Sudan, also as a result of the US embargo, the delivery of new Chinese-made trains in 2014 at least the passenger service in the section from Khartoum to Atbara will be resumed.
According to aristmarketing, Sudan has only 4,320 km of paved roads and 7,580 km of slopes. After more than eight years of construction, the cross-border expressway between Khartoum and Addis Ababa was opened in March 2017, which is expected to intensify the exchange of goods, especially when exporting Sudanese oil to Ethiopia, and on which an intercity bus connection will also be set up.
4068 km of waterways exist, but only 1723 km are open to shipping all year round.
There is a connection with international air traffic via the airport of Khartoum. With Chinese help, a new major airport is being built south of Omdurman. Further airports, for example in Wadi Halfa on the Egyptian border, are being planned. The national airline is Sudan Airways, privatized in 2007, which also does most of the domestic operations and flies to some countries in the region and the Middle East. The airline, which is one of the oldest in Africa, has suffered from years of mismanagement and the sanctions of the EU and the USA.
After the sanctions were suspended by the USA in October 2017, the airline is hoping to survive through the repairs that are now possible as their rundown fleet.
The other Sudanese airlines are mostly smaller companies that operate almost exclusively in domestic traffic and often only have a short survival time. All Sudan’s airlines have been on the EU’s black list since 2010 because of deficiencies in flight safety.
In the course of the efforts to ease the tension between Sudan and South Sudan, a scheduled flight of a South Sudanese airline from Juba landed in Khartoum for the first time in September 2013.
The coat of arms
The Sudanese coat of arms, which is valid today, was introduced in 1969 and replaced the emblem used with independence with a rhinoceros. Since then it shows the secretary as the national bird of Sudan. The bird is considered brave and brave. He is shown in the Sudanese coat of arms with outspread wings, in a modification of the eagle Saladin, the heraldic animal of the Arab-Islamic states. The choice of the bird, the use of the pan-Arabic colors (as in the flag) and the Arabic script on the coat of arms with the state motto in German “Victory is ours” and the state name “Republic of Sudan” demonstrate the solidarity with the Islamic states and the independence of Sudan.