Facts about the Republic of the Sudan, its People, Culture, Geography Politics

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 30 00 E
Area: total: 2,505,810 sq km
land: 2.376 million sq km
water: 129,810 sq km
Area—comparative: slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US
Land boundaries: total: 7,687 km


853 km


tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season (April to October)


generally flat, featureless plain; mountains in east and west
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Red Sea 0 m
highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 30% (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: dust storms
Environment—current issues:

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

Geography—note: largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries


34,475,690 (July 1999 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 45% (male 7,941,909; female 7,614,225)
15-64 years: 53% (male 9,094,712; female 9,061,194)
65 years and over: 2% (male 423,389; female 340,261) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.71% (1999 est.)

Birth rate:

39.34 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Death rate: 10.6 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 70.94 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 56.4 years
male: 55.41 years
female: 57.44 years (1999 est.)

noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups:

black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)
Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of Arabization in process
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 34.6% (1995 est
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
Government type: transitional—previously ruling military junta; presidential and National Assembly elections held in March 1996; new constitution drafted by Presidential Committee, went into effect on 30 June 1998 after being approved in nationwide referendum
Data code: SU
Capital: Khartoum
Administrative divisions: 26 states
Independence: 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and UK)
Constitution: 12 April 1973, suspended following coup of 6 April 1985; interim constitution of 10 October 1985 suspended following coup of 30 June 1989; new constitution implemented on 30 June 1998
Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; as of 20 January 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Islamic law in the northern states; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Economy—overview: Sudan is buffeted by civil war, chronic political instability, adverse weather, high inflation, a drop in remittances from abroad, and counterproductive economic policies. The private sector's main areas of activity are agriculture and trading, with most private industrial investment predating 1980. Agriculture employs 80% of the work force. Industry mainly processes agricultural items. Sluggish economic performance over the past decade, attributable largely to declining annual rainfall, has kept per capita income at low levels. A large foreign debt and huge arrears continue to cause difficulties. In 1990 the International Monetary Fund took the unusual step of declaring Sudan noncooperative because of its nonpayment of arrears to the Fund. After Sudan backtracked on promised reforms in 1992-93, the IMF threatened to expel Sudan from the Fund. To avoid expulsion, Khartoum agreed to make payments on its arrears to the Fund, liberalize exchange rates, and reduce subsidies, measures it has partially implemented. The government's continued prosecution of the civil war and its growing international isolation continued to inhibit growth in the nonagricultural sectors of the economy during 1998. Hyperinflation has raised consumer prices above the reach of most. In 1998, a top priority was to develop potentially lucrative oilfields in southcentral Sudan; the government is working with foreign partners to exploit the oil sector. On limited quantities Oil exportation started in July, 1999.
GDP: purchasing power parity—$31.2 billion (1998 est.)
GDP—real growth rate: 6.1% (1998 est.)
GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$930 (1998 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 33%
industry: 17%
services: 50% (1992 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 27% (mid-1997 est.)
Labor force: 11 million (1996 est.)
Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 80%, industry and commerce 10%, government 6%
Unemployment rate: 30% (FY92/93 est.)
Budget: revenues: $482 million
expenditures: $1.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $30 million (1996)


cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining

Industrial production growth rate:

5% (1996 est.)


cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sesame; sheep


$594 million (f.o.b., 1997)


cotton 23%, sesame 22%, livestock/meat 13%, gum arabic 5% (1996) Oil exportation started in July 1999.


Saudi Arabia 20%, UK 14%, China 11%, Italy 8% (1996)


$1.42 billion (f.o.b., 1997)


foodstuffs, petroleum products, manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles (1996)
Imports—partners: Saudi Arabia 10%, South Korea 7%, Germany 6%, Egypt 6% (1996)
Debt—external: $20.3 billion (1996 est.)
Currency: 1 Sudanese pound (£Sd) = 100 piastres 10 Sudanese pound (£Sd) = 1 dinar
Exchange rates: Sudanese pounds (£Sd) per US$1—2,413.00 (December 1999), 1,819.70 (April 1998), 1,873.53 (2d Qtr 1998), 1,575.74 (1997), 1,250.79 (1996), 580.87 (1995), 289.61 (1994), 159.31 (1993)
Telephones: 150,500 (1998 est.)
Telephone system: large, well-equipped system.
domestic: consists of microwave radio relay, cable, radiotelephone communications, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations: AM 11, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998 est.)
Radios: 6.75 million (1998 est.)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (1997)
Televisions: 350,000 (1999 est.)

total: 5,516 km
narrow gauge: 4,800 km 1.067-m gauge; 716 km 1.6096-m gauge plantation line


total: 11,900 km
paved: 4,320 km
unpaved: 7,580 km (1996 est.)


5,310 km navigable


refined products 815 km
Ports and harbors: Juba, Khartoum, Kusti, Malakal, Nimule, Port Sudan, Sawakin
Airports: 63 (1998 est.)
Airports—with paved runways: total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (1998 est.)
Airports—with unpaved runways: total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 11 (1998 est.)
Heliports: 1 (1998 est.)

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Last updated Mar 9, 2003