Country Listing

Sudan Table of Contents



Salient Features: Government-dominated mixed economy. Modern agriculture sector and most of modern industry controlled by government corporations directly or through joint ventures; virtually all small- and medium-sized industry, most services, traditional agriculture, and handicrafts controlled privately. Civil war in south, massive influx of refugees from neighboring countries, and drought in 1980s and 1991 have hampered economic development. New economic recovery program announced June 1990 to end economic stagnation, develop agriculture, liberalize trade, abolish most government monopolies, progressively eliminate budget deficit, and develop energy resources.

Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry: Agriculture and livestock raising provided livelihood for about 80 percent of population and roughly 95 percent of exports in early 1990s. Agriculture characterized by modern market-oriented sector of irrigated and mechanized rainfed farming concentrated in central part of country and large traditional sector engaged in subsistence activities elsewhere. Principal modern sector crops: cotton, sorghum, groundnuts, sugarcane, wheat, sesame. Traditional sector crops: sorghum, millet, sesame, groundnuts. Fisheries still largely subsistence occupation. Apart from gum arabic, a major export, forests used mainly for fuel.

Manufacturing: Public enterprises dominant in modern manufacturing activity, mainly foodstuffs, beverages, textiles. Output of government plants generally well below capacities because of raw materials shortages, power outages, lack of spare parts, and lack of competent managerial staff and skilled laborers. Three-quarters of large-scale modern manufacturing in Al Khartum State.

Mining: Contributed less than 1 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990. Most petroleum exploration operations ended in 1984 because of civil war in south and had not resumed as of mid-1991.

Energy: Chief sources of energy in 1990: domestic wood, charcoal, hydroelectric power, imported petroleum; large hydroelectric potential only partially exploited. Central area of country served by electric power grid; some towns elsewhere had local generating facilities.

Foreign Trade: Agricultural products (cotton, gum arabic, groundnuts, sesame, livestock) dominate exports. Large trade deficit since late 1970s, accentuated by increased costs of petroleum imports. Main destinations of exports in 1986: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Britain, other European Community (EC) members. Main suppliers: Saudi Arabia (petroleum), Britain, other EC members, United States, Japan, China.

Data as of June 1991