Overview

Sudan is in northern Africa, with a coastline bordering the Red Sea. It sits at the crossroads of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, with desert as well as fertile land and abundant livestock. The country has been beset by conflict for most of its independent history and, under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the southern states seceded to form the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011.

The secession of South Sudan induced multiple economic shocks. The most important and immediate was the loss of the oil revenue that accounted for over half of Sudan’s government revenues and 95% of its exports. This has left huge challenges, as well as much reduced economic growth, and resulted in double-digit consumer price inflation, which, together with increased fuel prices, triggered violent protests in September 2013.

Meanwhile, South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013 and its conflict continues to put pressure on Sudan, with an estimated 332,885 people from there having sought safety in Sudan as of March 2017, according to the United Nations, as well as a drastic reduction in cross-border oil flows. The famine currently afflicting northern parts of South Sudan is causing a greater influx of refugees into Sudan.     

Following the global oil price slump in 2015/2016, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to lower oil transit fees for South Sudanese oil via Sudan’s pipeline, as it became uneconomic to export it. In December 2016, however, Sudan and South Sudan extended their 2012 agreement on oil financial arrangements for three years on the same terms, with the exception of provisions for the adjustment of transit fees in line with global oil prices .   

Armed conflict in Sudan’s westernmost region of Darfur has subsided in recent years but many parts of the region remain precarious because of the proliferation of arms and banditry. Efforts to settle another conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile remain deadlocked.  

Comprehensive US sanctions on Sudan, levied in 1997 and expanded in 2006, were eased in January 2017, allowing for financial and trade transactions between US citizens and entities, and their Sudanese counterparts. However, the order to ease sanctions is under six-month review and could either be rescinded or made permanent.

Away from oil, agriculture and livestock are essential to Sudan’s economic diversification and could contribute to medium-term macroeconomic stability. While these sectors presently contribute approximately 35%–40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they could contribute significantly more with greater investment and better governance. Sudan now recognizes the need for greater attention to agriculture and livestock, as reflected in its Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) and the Five-year Program for Economic Reforms approved by its parliament in December 2014. 

However, Sudan remains a highly indebted country that has accumulated sizeable external arrears and has been in non-accrual status with the World Bank Group (WBG) since 1994. At the end of 2015, Sudan’s external debt amounted to $50 billion (61% of GDP) in nominal terms, about 84% of which was in arrears. While the country is eligible for debt relief under the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, it must come to an amicable understanding with its main creditors in partnership with South Sudan.

In November 2016, Sudan and South Sudan extended for two years their 2012 agreement on debt apportionment, whereby Sudan retains all the external liabilities after the secession of South Sudan, provided the international community gives firm commitments on the delivery of debt relief within two years. Without such commitment, Sudan’s external debt would be portioned out with South Sudan’s based on a formula that is yet to be determined.

Poverty and Social Developments

The main determinants of poverty in Sudan include: conflicts and a dependence on oil, which has resulted in the neglect of agriculture and livestock sectors as well as alternative sources of energy. The unequal distribution of fiscal resources and access to natural resources, governance failures as reflected in poor policy credibility and implementation, as well as inadequate incentives for private sector investment and participation.

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

The overriding goal of the World Bank Group (WBG) is to support the reduction of extreme poverty and improve the prospects for more shared prosperity in Sudan. In this context, the WBG Interim Strategy Note (ISN) has been structured around two pillars: managing the economic transition; and addressing the socio-economic roots of conflict, with a crosscutting focus on governance and gender.

In its strategy for Sudan, the WBG continues to build a dynamic portfolio of projects that now amount to $130 million by mobilizing third-party financial resources (largely through Bank-managed multi-donor trust funds). While the short time frame of the ISN would not be long enough for monitoring poverty outcomes, the WBG together with the African Development Bank (AfDB) will support the production of a new round of poverty data, to be made available in 2015/16, as well as related analytical products to inform the full PRSP.

Given Sudan’s ongoing economic transition, the Bank’s technical assistance and knowledge resources will be key to guiding authorities in identifying a path toward inclusive and shared growth. These include a range of reports and analyses, such as Enabling the Business of Agriculture , the recently-updated Diagnostic Trade Integration Study, as well as the new Country Economic Memorandum.

Given Sudan’s current lack of access to IDA funding, the WBG program will continue to be resourced through trust funds, partnerships, and the Bank budget.

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

From 2005 to 2013, the World Bank Group’s engagement in Sudan was carried almost exclusively through the Sudan Multi-Donor Trust Fund- National (MDTF-NS. The results of the MDTF-NS include:

Education: The MDTF-NS was instrumental in boosting school enrollment for nearly 0.5 million pupils (49% girls) following the construction or rehabilitation of over 514 schools, three teacher training institutes, and the training of more than 11,000 teachers.

  • Health: In states with MDTF-NS activities, health facility data shows that between 2009 and the end of 2012, annual per person outpatient consultations increased from 0.16% to 0.30%; the share of pregnant women attending at least one antenatal care consultancy increased from 48% to 69%; and the proportion of total births attended by skilled health staff including trained village midwives increased from 19% to 51%.
  • Improving Gum Arabic production and marketing: Sudan is the world’s largest exporter of raw Gum Arabic, a food stabilizer used in soft drinks. It is a key sector for employment generation and poverty alleviation in Sudan’s rural areas, contributing about 15% to 25% to household income. The Revitalizing the Gum Arabic Production and Marketing Project supported some 130 Gum Arabic Producers’ Associations (almost 10% of the total number of GAPAs) and provided seed funds for production and marketing activities. The Improving Livestock Production and Marketing Project supported a series of pilot activities that addressed the priorities of pastoral communities in livestock production and marketing. As an example, six livestock markets and 28 watering points were constructed/rehabilitated, which contributed to an increase in the number of animal heads sold annually.
  • Microfinance: The MDTF’s Microfinance Development Facility Project  contributed to the creation of the microfinance industry.
  • Public sector capacity building: MDTF-NS activities also focused on increasing transparency and public sector accountability and on addressing capacity gaps in economic governance. Key outputs have been: 3,905 government officers trained on fiduciary, planning, and related management issues; 327 senior government officers trained on intergovernmental fiscal relations, procurement, public finance, project management, monitoring and evaluation; and 156 administrative buildings rehabilitated.
  • Community-Driven Development: Under the MTDF-supported Community Development Fund, local communities in four targeted states have strengthened and expanded their systems for the delivery of basic services. This has included 567 schools, 99 primary health care facilities, 163 water points, 26 community centers, and the construction/rehabilitation of 97 solar power installations benefitting more than two million people. 

Following the closure of the MTDF, World Bank-managed projects continued to get results in a number of areas, including:  

  • Peacebuilding: Conflict between different livelihood groups over scarce natural resources in Sudan’s peripheral regions is a major driver of fragility and instability. The Sudan Peacebuilding for Development Project implements a wide range of activities designed primarily to promote peace and reduce incidence of violence between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers along livestock migration routes in Sudan’s strife-ridden regions of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. In the areas where the project has intervened, the recorded number of violent incidents dropped to 430 in 2016 compared to 1,184 in 2013, 1,124 in 2014, and 663 in 2015.
  • Livelihoods: The Sustainable Livelihoods for Displaced and Vulnerable Communities in the Eastern Sudan Project has undertaken a wide range of livelihood activities in IDP and host communities in one of the most impoverished regions of Sudan. Since its inception in October 2013, the project provided livelihood opportunities to 911 households, 86% of which increased their monthly income by 59.5%.    
  • Public Financial Management: Data drawn from the Sudan Budget Capacity Strengthening Project, which worked to improve budget revenues and credibility in four sub-national level states, indicates that two of those states had managed to collect a greater share of forecasted/budgeted revenues in the year following the project’s intervention.
  • Basic Education: Since it became effective in July 2013, the Sudan Basic Education Recovery Project has largely met its objectives of improving the learning environment and increasing the availability of textbooks in primary schools across targeted areas. The project printed and distributed 9.8 million textbooks, completed the construction of 478 classrooms and gave grants to 2,754 schools. School enrollment in the 11 sub-national states where the project implemented its activities has increased by 8%.

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017

Albeit reduced in size following the closure of the $590 million Multi Donor Trust Fund – National  in 2013, the World Bank’s (WB) footprint of investment and knowledge activities remains substantial. The current portfolio cuts across a range of key issues and includes several investment projects financed through the Global Partnership for Education, the Global Environment Facility, and the State and Peacebuilding Fund Strategic Initiative.

In 2014, the World Bank Group introduced the Sudan Multi-Partner Fund, with initial donor commitment of $11 million, met by an approximate $15 million in government financing. The SMPF enjoys support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid) and Norway. 

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2017


LENDING

Sudan: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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