Sudan Economy


Agriculture still occupies the majority of Sudanese today (43.1% of the active population in 2018); however, the cultivated area is equal to 22.87% of the territory. In fact, the country has a high agricultural potential that has not yet been exploited due to the lack of irrigation works. However, it must be borne in mind that even in Sudan, as is the case with many African states, there remains a clear separation between traditional agriculture, of pure subsistence and extremely poor, but from which the great mass of the population draws its stunted income, and commercial agriculture, for which the best areas are naturally destined. The fundamental crops destined for food are generally those typical of the African environment of the savannahs, that is, the crops of poor cereals, sorghum and millet, which can be cultivated almost everywhere, since they grow without requiring irrigation, exploiting only the short rainy season. Quite important are wheat, maize and rice, whose cultivation is expanding in irrigated areas in relation to the growing demands from urban centers. Other widely consumed foodstuffs are cassava, potatoes, tomatoes and other horticultural products. In the oases of the North, the main product is made up of dates; there are also various other fruit-bearing crops in the country, for example bananas, oranges, grapefruits. As regards commercial crops, numerous plantations have already been nationalized and mechanized for some time. Sudan is a “cotton” country; cotton farming finds very favorable conditions in the fertile alluvial lands of Gezira and cotton represents by far the main export commodity of the country. Visit ask4beauty for Sudan destinations. However, irrigated land has significantly increased its extent; other plantations have joined those of Gezira, including the plantations of Khashm al-Qirbah. Peanuts and sesame are also grown and exported; the cultivation of sugar cane is experiencing a certain development. § About 22% of Sudanese territory is covered by forests and woods; the beautiful equatorial forests of the Southern Region are particularly rich in precious wood, including mahogany and ebony; forestry exploitation could be enhanced by creating sufficient infrastructures, especially roads. Another important product of Sudan is gum arabic (hashab), which also occupies an important place in exports and which is obtained from Acacia senegal, widespread in the savannahs of Kordofan, Darfur, the Blue Nile and the state of Kassala. § The zootechnical patrimony is considerable; farming is made possible, even in nomadic forms, by the vastness of the territory, but it is hindered and made difficult by the poverty of water, which becomes even dramatic in certain regions during the dry season. In addition, the modernization of livestock activity encounters obstacles even of a psychological nature, given that it is in the traditional conception of breeders to give importance to the number of cattle owned and not to the quality of the breeds. § The fishing is practiced in inland waters, especially in wetlands of the Sudd, where it is a complementary activity for local agricultural populations; fishing is also widespread along the Nile, while it has very limited development along the coasts of the Red Sea.


The industrialization of the country lacks basic industry and the main industrial productions concern the transformation of local agricultural products. There are therefore milling complexes, sugar mills, oil mills, breweries, tobacco factories etc. The textile sector also has a certain development, especially for the cotton mill, with various factories in Khartoum; there are also shoe factories, an important cement factory in Atbara, some oil refineries and small chemical factories, which mainly process petroleum derivatives. § Mineral resources are varied and oil, of which the country has large deposits, is potentially Sudan’s most important resource. Its extraction began in the mid-nineties of the twentieth century and led, first to energy self-sufficiency, then to the export of this hydrocarbon. In 1999, Africa’s longest oil pipeline linking Heglil to the Red Sea began operation. In general, Sudan has good mineral reserves, chromite and brine, modest quantities of iron, copper, magnesite and manganese. The production of gold is constantly increasing. The production of electricity of thermal and water origin is modest, supplied above all by the Er Roseires and Sennar plants, both on the Blue Nile.


Domestic trade has been growing slightly since the beginning of the year 2000; that with foreign countries presents serious imbalances in the trade balance, since exports cover only half to one third of imports. The latter are naturally represented above all by machinery and means of transport, industrial products of all kinds, while Sudan mainly exports oil followed by food and textiles: cotton, peanuts, sesame, gum arabic, sheep; trade takes place mainly with China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, India, Germany and France. § Given the vastness of the country, the provision of an adequate system of communication routes represents a very difficult task for the government; on the whole, the main shortcomings concern the road system (11. 900 km in 2001), as the vast majority of roads are not passable during the rainy season. However, several well-asphalted national roads have been built (6376 km were asphalted in 2012), in order to connect both the capital and Port Sudan with all the provincial capitals and other main cities of the country. The situation is particularly serious in the southern part of the country, where the long civil war has caused considerable damage to the modest pre-existing road structures. The situation with regard to railway communications appears to be fair: Sudan has 4313 km of railways (2017); internal transport makes great use of river navigation, which develops mainly on the White Nile. Port traffic takes place almost entirely in Port Sudan and Suakin.

Sudan Economy