Sudan is as varied physically as it is culturally; in the north, the Nile passes through the eastern border of the Sahara: the Nubian desert, the ancient kingdoms of Cush and Meroe, and the Seti’s homeland. Some little farming and husbandry complement the main crop of date palms here. The East and West are hilly areas, whereas the remainder of the nation is made up of savannahs characteristic of most of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The overwhelming majority of its people are Sunni Muslims, and proselytizing non-Sunni views is prohibited.
The quantity of rainfall rises as one moves south. The Nubian Desert to the northeast and the Bayuda Desert to the east are very dry desert regions in the middle and northern parts of the country, whereas wetlands and rainforests may be found in the south. The rainy season in Sudan lasts approximately three months (from July to September) in the north and up to six months (from June to November) in the south.
Sandstorms, known as haboob, may totally block out the sun in the arid areas. People in the northern and western semi-desert regions depend on little rainfall for rudimentary agriculture, and many are nomadic, traveling with herds of sheep and camels. There are well-irrigated fields producing cash crops near the Nile. The sunlight length is extremely high across the nation, but particularly in the deserts, where it may reach over 4,000 hours per year.
According to Sudan’s 2008 census, the population of Northern, Western, and Eastern Sudan totaled more than 30 million people. This puts current estimates of Sudan’s population following South Sudan’s independence at little more than 30 million people. This is a substantial growth over the previous two decades, since the entire population of Sudan, including present-day South Sudan, was 21.6 million according to the 1983 census. Greater Khartoum’s population (which includes Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is quickly increasing and has reached 5.2 million people.
Sudan, while being a refugee-producing nation, also has a refugee population. According to the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ World Refugee Survey 2008, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers resided in Sudan in 2007. The bulk of this population came from Eritrea (240,400 people), Chad (45,000 people), Ethiopia (49,300 people), and the Central African Republic (2,500). During the year 2007, the Sudanese government forcefully deported at least 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Sudan is a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.
The Arab population of Sudan is believed to be 70% of the total. Other Arabized ethnic groups include Nubians, Zaghawa, and Copts.
Sudan is home to 597 ethnic groups that speak over 400 distinct languages and dialects. Sudanese Arabs are Sudan’s most populous ethnic group. While the majority speak Sudanese Arabic, certain other Arab tribes speak other Arabic dialects, such as Awadia and Fadnia tribes and Bani Arak tribes who speak Najdi Arabic; and Rufa’a, Bani Hassan, Al-Ashraf, Kinanah, and Rashaida tribes who speak Hejazi Arabic. Furthermore, the Western province is made up of a variety of ethnic groups, although a few Arab Bedouin of the northern Rizeigat and others who speak Sudanese Arabic have the same culture and origins as Sudanese Arabs.
Because to cultural, linguistic, and genetic differences with other Arab and Arabized tribes, the majority of Arabized and indigenous tribes that speak Chadian Arabic, such as the Fur, Zaghawa, Borgo, Masalit, and certain Baggara ethnic groups, exhibit less cultural integration.
Sudanese Arabs in the north and east are mainly descended from migration from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with Sudan’s pre-existing indigenous groups, particularly the Nubians, who have a shared history with Egypt. Furthermore, a few pre-Islamic Arabian tribes existed in Sudan from previous migrations from Western Arabia, but the majority of Arabs in Sudan are dated from migrations after the 12th century.
In the 12th century, the overwhelming majority of Arab tribes in Sudan moved into the country, intermarried with indigenous Nubian and other African people, and brought Islam.
The gradual process of Arabization in Sudan following these Arabian migrations after the 12th century, like much of the rest of the Arab world, led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was aided by the expansion of Islam as well as the movement of ethnic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula to Sudan, where they intermarried with the country’s Arabized indigenous peoples.
Sudan is home to a diverse range of non-Arabic ethnic groups, including the Masalit, Zaghawa, Fulani, Northern Nubians, Nuba, and Beja.
Over 97 percent of the people of the remaining Sudan adheres to Islam, according to the 2011 partition that separated South Sudan. Sufi and Salafi (Ansar Al Sunnah) Muslims make up the majority of Muslims. The Ansar and Khatmia, two prominent Sufi sects, are linked to the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist parties, respectively. Only the Darfur area has historically been devoid of the Sufi brotherhoods that exist throughout the rest of the nation.
In Khartoum and other northern cities, there are significant, long-established Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christian communities. Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox communities may also be found in Khartoum and eastern Sudan, mostly made up of recent refugees and migrants. Roman Catholics and Anglicans are the two biggest Christian faiths in Western Europe. The Africa Inland Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Sudan Church of Christ, the Sudan Interior Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, and the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church are among the minor Christian organizations in the country (in the North).
The political divides in the nation are influenced by religious identity. Since independence, northern and western Muslims have controlled the country’s political and economic systems. Islamists, Salafis/Wahhabis, and other orthodox Arab Muslims in the north provide the NCP a lot of support. The Umma Party has long attracted Arab Ansar Sufis from Darfur and Kordofan, as well as non-Arab Muslims from the region. In the north and east, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) comprises both Arab and non-Arab Muslims, particularly members of the Khatmia Sufi sect.
Sudan had the 17th-fastest-growing economy in the world in 2010, and The New York Times highlighted in a 2006 story that the country’s quick growth was mainly due to oil revenues despite international sanctions. Sudan entered a phase of Stagflation as a result of the secession of South Sudan, which contained over 80% of Sudan’s oilfields. GDP growth slowed to 3.4 percent in 2014, 3.1 percent in 2015, and is expected to slowly recover to 3.7 percent in 2016, while inflation remained as high as 21.8 percent in 2015.
Sudan had severe economic difficulties even with oil revenues before the separation of South Sudan, and its growth was still a climb from a relatively low level of per capita production. Sudan’s economy has been gradually expanding since the early 2000s, according to a World Bank study, with total GDP growth of 5.2 percent in 2010 compared to 4.2 percent in 2009. Even throughout the Darfur conflict and the period of southern autonomy before to South Sudan’s independence, this development was maintained.
Sudan’s primary export was oil, which had a significant increase in production in the late 2000s, just before South Sudan achieved independence in July 2011. The Sudanese economy was flourishing in 2007, with a growth rate of about 9% because to increasing oil earnings. However, with the independence of oil-rich South Sudan, the Sudanese government lost direct control of most major oilfields, and oil output in Sudan dropped from approximately 450,000 barrels per day (72,000 m3/d) to around 60,000 barrels per day (9,500 m3/d). For 2014-15, production has returned to approximately 250,000 barrels per day (40,000 m3/d).
Because South Sudan is a landlocked nation, it depends on a pipeline to Port Sudan on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, as well as oil processing facilities in Sudan, to export oil. Sudan and South Sudan reached an agreement in August 2012 to transfer South Sudanese oil via Sudanese pipelines to Port Sudan.
China has a 40% stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, making it one of Sudan’s most important trade partners. Sudan small weapons are also sold throughout the nation, and have been utilized in military actions such as the Darfur and South Kordofan wars.
While agriculture has traditionally been the primary source of income and employment for over 80% of Sudanese and accounts for a third of the economy, oil production has driven the majority of Sudan’s post-2000 development. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now collaborating with the government of Khartoum to develop good macroeconomic policies. This comes after a tumultuous time in the 1980s, when Sudan’s debt-ridden ties with the IMF and World Bank deteriorated, eventually leading to its suspension from the IMF. Since the early 1990s, the program has worked to determine the exchange rate and foreign currency reserve. Sudan has been implementing the International Monetary Fund’s proposed macroeconomic reforms since 1997.
Agriculture is Sudan’s most significant industry, employing 80% of the workforce and accounting for 39% of GDP, although most farms are rain-fed and vulnerable to drought. Instability, bad weather, and low global agricultural prices guarantee that a large portion of the population will stay poor for years.
The Merowe Dam, also known as the Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a major construction project in Northern Sudan, located approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Khartoum. It is located near the Fourth Cataract, when the Nile River splits into many smaller streams with huge islands in between. Merowe is a city located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) downstream of the dam building site.
The dam’s primary function will be to generate energy. It is Africa’s biggest modern hydroelectric project due to its size. The dam was completed in December 2008, and it now provides power to more than 90% of the population. In Khartoum State and neighboring states, additional gas-powered generating plants are operating.
Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the Corruption Perception Index.
According to the 2013 Global Hunger Index, Sudan has a GHI indicator score of 27.0, indicating that the country is in a ‘Alarming Hunger Situation,’ giving it the title of world’s fifth most hungry country. Sudan was rated 167th in the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI), suggesting that it continues to have one of the lowest levels of human development in the world. Almost a quarter of Sudan’s population lives on less than US$1.25 per day, falling below the international poverty line.