World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Sudan Travelling Guide
Sudan Travelling Guide

General background: Military dictatorships favoring an Islamic-oriented government have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war for all but 10 years of this period (1972-82). Since 1983, the war and war- and famine-related effects have led to more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced. The war pits the Arab/Muslim majority in Khartoum against the non-Muslim African rebels in the south. Since 1989, traditional northern Muslim parties have made common cause with the southern rebels and entered the war as a part of an anti-government alliance.

Area comparative: Slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US.

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

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

Population: 37,090,298 (July 2002 est.)

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)

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

Government type: Authoritarian regime - ruling military junta took power in 1989; government is run by an alliance of the military and the National Congress Party (NCP), formerly the National Islamic Front (NIF), which espouses an Islamist platform.

Capital: Khartoum

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.

Economic overview: Sudan has turned around a struggling economy with sound economic policies and infrastructure investments, but it still faces formidable economic problems. Starting in 1997 Sudan began implementing IMF macroeconomic reforms that have successfully stabilized inflation. In 1999 Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999 recorded its first trade surplus, along with monetary policy, has stabilized the exchange rate. Current oil production stands at 220,000 barrels per day, of which some 70% is exported and the rest refined mostly for domestic consumption. Increased oil production, revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones should maintain GDP growth at 5% in 2002. Agriculture production remains Sudan's most important sector, employing 80% of the work force and contributing 43% of GDP, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Sudan is also constrained by its limited access to international credit; most of Sudan's $24.9 billion debt remains in arrears. The civil war, chronic instability, adverse weather, and weak world agricultural prices ensure that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.

Communication/Telephone system: Large, well-equipped system by regional standards and being upgraded; cellular communications started in 1996 and have expanded substantially.

Places of interest:

Travel tips: The long civil war, which has largely gone unnoticed by the West, has seen a mounting death toll that's already reached two million. Millions more have starved to death during the regular famines that have hit the country, particularly in the south. Major epidemics of meningitis and malaria have also ravaged the population and have threatened Khartoum. Before traveling to or around Sudan, check for the most current information from your embassy.