Sudan officially the Republic of Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest.

Background History

Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from Anglo-Egyptian co-rule in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but another broke out in 1983. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January 2011 and indicated overwhelming support for independence. South Sudan became independent on 9 July 2011. Sudan and South Sudan have yet to fully implement security and economic agreements signed on September 27, 2012 relating to the normalization of relations between the two countries. The final disposition of the contested Abyei region has also to be decided. Since South Sudan's independence, conflict has broken out between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which has resulted in 1.2 million internally displaced persons or severely affected persons in need of humanitarian assistance. A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. Violence in Darfur in 2013 resulted in an additional estimated 6,000 civilians killed and 500,000 displaced. The UN and the African Union have jointly commanded a Darfur peacekeeping operation known as the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) since 2007. Peacekeeping troops have struggled to stabilize the situation and have increasingly become targets for attacks by armed groups. In 2013, 16 peacekeepers were killed, UNAMID's deadliest year so far. Sudan also has faced refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and government denial of access have impeded the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.



Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of the Sudan
  • conventional short form: Sudan
  • local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan
  • local short form: As-Sudan
  • former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan


  • name: Khartoum
  • geographic coordinates: 15 36 N, 32 32 E
  • time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and the UK)

Government Type:

  • federal republic ruled by the National Congress Party (NCP), which seized power by military coup in 1989; the CPA-mandated Government of National Unity, which between 2005 and 2011 provided a percentage of leadership posts to the southern Sudan-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), was disbanded following the secession of South Sudan

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih (since 3 December 2013), Second Vice President Hasabu Mohamed Abdel Rahmin (since 3 December 2013)
  • head of government: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih (since 3 December 2013), Second Vice President Hasabu Mohamed Abdel Rahmin (since 3 December 2013)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: bicameral National Legislature consists of a Council of States and a National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Constitutional Court of nine justices; National Supreme Court; National Courts of Appeal; other national courts


People & Society


  • 35,482,233 (global rank: 37)
  • growth rate: 1.78% (global rank: 68)


  • noun: Sudanese
  • adjective: Sudanese

Major Cities:

  • Khartoum (capital): 5 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Fallata


  • Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority


  • Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 63.32 years (global rank: 186)
  • male: 61.27 years
  • female: 65.46 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 52.86 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 34)
  • male: 58.29 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 47.15 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 0.24% (2013 est.) (global rank: 89)
  • people living with AIDS: 49,300 (2013 est.) (global rank: 56)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 73.4%
  • male: 81.7%
  • female: 65.3%



Overview: Sudan is an extremely poor country that has experienced protracted social conflict, civil war, and, in July 2011, the loss of three-quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan. The oil sector had driven much of Sudan's GDP growth since 1999. For nearly a decade, the economy boomed on the back of rising oil production, high oil prices, and significant inflows of foreign direct investment. Since the economic shock of South Sudan's secession, Sudan has struggled to stabilize its economy and make up for the loss of foreign exchange earnings. The interruption of oil production in South Sudan in 2012 for over a year and the consequent loss of oil transit fees further exacerbated the fragile state of Sudan’s economy. Sudan is also subject to comprehensive US sanctions. Sudan is attempting to develop non-oil sources of revenues, such as gold mining, while carrying out an austerity program to reduce expenditures. The world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic, Sudan produces 75-80% of the world’s total output. Agriculture continues to employ 80% of the work force. Sudan introduced a new currency, still called the Sudanese pound, following South Sudan's secession, but the value of the currency has fallen since its introduction. Khartoum formally devalued the currency in June 2012, when it passed austerity measures that included gradually repealing fuel subsidies. Sudan also faces rising inflation, which reached 47% on an annual basis in November 2012, but subsided to 37% in 2014. Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Darfur, and the Blue Nile states, lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture keep close to half of the population at or below the poverty line.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $159.5 billion (global rank: 70)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $4,500 (global rank: 175)
  • real growth rate: 3% (global rank: 109)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 26.8%, industry: 35.6%, services: 37.7%


  • currency: Sudanese Pound (SDG)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 5.79


  • population below poverty line: 46.5%
  • unemployment rate: 20%

Agricultural Products:

  • cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame; sheep and other livestock


  • oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly

Exports Commodities:

  • oil and petroleum products; cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar

Imports Commodities:

  • foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles, wheat



  • north-eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea


  • total: 1,861,484 sq km (global rank: 16)
  • comparative: slightly less than one-fifth the size of the US


  • hot and dry; arid desert; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Natural Resources:

  • petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold; hydropower

Current Environmental Issues:

  • inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: the effects of Sudan's almost constant ethnic and rebel militia fighting since the mid-20th century have penetrated all of the neighboring states; Chad wishes to be a helpful mediator in resolving the Darfur conflict, and in 2010 established a joint border monitoring force with Sudan, which has helped to reduce cross-border banditry and violence; as of 2006, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda provided shelter for over half a million Sudanese refugees, which includes 240,000 Darfur residents driven from their homes by Janjawid armed militia and the Sudanese military forces; as of January 2011, Sudan, in turn, hosted about 138,700 Eritreans, 43,000 Chadians, and smaller numbers of Ethiopians; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia proceed slowly due to civil and ethnic fighting in eastern Sudan; Sudan claims but Egypt de facto administers security and economic development of Halaib region north of the 22nd parallel boundary; periodic violent skirmishes with Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic; South Sudan-Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment, final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei Area pending negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan
  • refugees (country of origin): 162,000 (Eritrea); 43,000 (Chad); 11,009 (Ethiopia)
  • internally displaced persons: more than 4 million (civil war 1983-2005; ongoing conflict in Darfur region)
  • human trafficking: Sudan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Sudanese women and girls, particularly those from rural areas or who are internally displaced, are vulnerable to forced labor as domestic workers in homes throughout the country; some of these women and girls are subsequently sexually abused by male occupants of the household or forced to engage in commercial sex acts; Sudanese women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude in Middle Eastern countries, such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and to forced sex trafficking in European countries; some Sudanese men who voluntarily migrate to the Middle East as low-skilled laborers face conditions indicative of forced labor; Sudanese children transit Yemen en route to Saudi Arabia, where they are used in forced begging and street vending, and reportedly work in exploitative labor situations for Sudanese traders in the Central African Republic; Sudan is a transit and destination country for Ethiopian and Eritrean women subjected to domestic servitude in Sudan and Middle Eastern countries; Sudan is a destination for Ethiopian, Somali, and possibly Thai women subjected to forced prostitution

Published: Monday, September 8, 2008

Sudan officially the Republic of Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest.