Country Listing

Sudan Table of Contents


Defense Costs

The civil war in the south had a devastating impact. Not only were military operations in the south a great expense, but the economy was disrupted by the fighting, and perhaps 3 million persons were displaced from or within the war zones. Because of secrecy restrictions dating from the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, no substantial information on the defense budget was released publicly or provided to the People's Assembly, which however, had been suspended in 1989. Various official and unofficial estimates of the size of defense expenditures and the burden imposed on the economy by the military establishment have differed widely. The United States government agency estimated the defense budget at US$610 million in 1989, representing 7.2 percent of gross national product ( GNP--see Glossary). The Sudanese government has estimated the cost of conducting the war at about US$1 million a day.

Although the specific components of military spending were not available, it was known that the principal category of the defense budget was personnel-related costs. Most large purchases of arms had been financed with credits from the supplying countries. Financial assistance from other countries, principally the Arab oil-producing states of the Persian Gulf, had made these credit purchases possible. Arms imports had fallen since the resumption of the civil war in 1983, as a result of the unwillingness of Western countries to supply weapons that could be used in the hostilities, and of subsequent cutbacks in financial aid from the Middle East. The total amount of funds for military procurements that was available through loans, grants, direct purchases, and barter arrangements was not made public.

Data as of June 1991