Sudan Economic Policy

Economic policy

The Sudanese government, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), launched a program in 2013agreed for modernization and market economy orientation. The program includes, among other things, the privatization of state-owned companies, the reform of the public service, a reduction in military spending, which according to the World Bank has continuously exceeded 40% in recent years, and a rethinking of the costs of social services. The core of the temporary progress from oil exports was the capital, which began to develop into a “boom town” with modern hotels, commercial and office buildings, new roads and bridges. However, this development has come to a standstill along with the country’s economic decline.


In addition to the aforementioned oil, Sudan exports gold, live cattle, cotton, sesame, peanuts and hides. Other agricultural products are sugar cane, wheat, millet and sorghum. Sudan is also the main producer of gum arabic, which is obtained from the resin of the acacia in Kordofan.

Sudan’s main export countries are the United Arabs, China despite the slump in oil exports, and India. The country’s imports come mainly from China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Sudan mainly imports machines, spare parts, chemicals, medicines, food and textiles.

Germany is one of the preferred partners, but economic connections with Sudan were at a low level in terms of trade volume in 2019, ranking 108th out of 239 among German trading partners. Large projects, e.g. For example, expanding the Sudanese telecommunications sector, building power plants and developing the aviation sector have also caught the attention of German companies.

Vegetable market in the outskirts of Khartoum Sudan

Development cooperation

International development cooperation

With almost two thirds of all government contributions (ODA), international development cooperation concentrates on humanitarian aid, especially in conflict regions such as Darfur. Sudan is one of the ten largest recipient countries of humanitarian aid. Another focus is the development of social infrastructure with basic health care, drinking water supply and sanitary facilities.

The United States and the EU are by far the largest institutions for official development cooperation in Sudan, above all with their Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Protection (ECHO), for which Sudan and South Sudan represent one of the world’s largest commitments, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), which primarily issues bonds and helps build economic structures, as well as Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

According to extrareference, the general conditions of Sudanese politics and the functioning of Sudanese institutions when implementing development cooperation measures, especially those aimed at pursuing goals such as sustainable growth and poverty reduction, are viewed as very critical and poorly developed. So which is Sudan when comparing the countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the “Country Policy and Institutional Assessment Index (CPIA)”, the diagnostic tool of the World Bank for measuring the quality of the function of politics and its institutions, currently in the third-last ranking of 39 countries studied, only off the Central African Republic, Eritrea and South Sudan.

The most important countries besides the Federal Republic of Germany that work with their state development institutions in Sudan are:

  • Great Britain (DFID)
  • UAE (ADFD)
  • Japan (JICA)
  • Turkey (TIKA)
  • Norway (NORAD)
  • Kuwait (KFAED)
  • Sweden (SIDA)
  • Switzerland (SDC)

German development cooperation

German development cooperation with Sudan was suspended when the second civil war broke out in 1989. Only after the peace agreement of 2005 was this initially resumed with South Sudan in March 2006.

In recent years, Sudan and South Sudan – with the exception of natural disasters in other countries – together have been the most important target countries for German humanitarian emergency aid, development-oriented emergency and transitional aid and food security. For a long time, this mainly affected the conflict region in Sudan Darfur.

After GIZ (or its predecessor organizations) was represented in Sudan until 2011 and since then has only been active in South Sudan, GIZ reopened a project office in Sudan in January 2014 and worked on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office in the field of civil society support until 2015. In addition, GIZ supported German non-governmental organizations active in Sudan on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the regional fund for the promotion of civil society. Since GIZ’s return to Sudan, its activities have expanded significantly. Until 2019, her focus was on supporting the reconstruction in Darfur, also with the creation of career prospects, in food security and in migration management. To combat the causes of displacement, Sudan is a country of the training initiative for Africa. Sudan is also part of the German biosecurity program.

Within the framework of German financial cooperation, programs from multilateral organizations such as WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF in the east of the country are funded, usually by KfW. The Federal Foreign Office has the flood victims of the floods in Khartoum

and the surrounding area from August 2013. Germany also supports the work of international aid organizations in Sudan. As part of the cultural preservation program of the Federal Foreign Office, cultural projects in Sudan that serve, for example, to protect archaeological sites, are funded.

In August 2013 the Sudanese government issued new provisions to regulate the work of international aid and human rights organizations more closely.

In addition, since fighting broke out in the Nuba Mountains and in the Blue Nile region in 2011, Sudan has blocked the work of aid organizations to supply the civilian population.

In addition to the GIZ, a few other German organizations have their headquarters in Khartoum, such as the Goethe Institute, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with its scholarship offer and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), whose activities focus on Sudan and extend south Sudan.