Sudan lies at the crossroads of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, bordering the Red Sea. It shares its border with seven countries, Libya and Egypt, Chad, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.
The White and Blue Niles meet in Khartoum, its capital, merging to become the Nile River all the way to the Mediterranean via Egypt. Sudan has a Sahelian belt with desert in the far north, fertile land in the Nile valleys and Gezira, with land used for farming and livestock across the rest of the country from Darfur to Kassala via Blue Nile and Kordofan states.
For most of its independent history, the country has faced substantial internal conflict that has weakened its ability to play a leadership role in the region. This includes two of the longest lasting civil wars on the continent, and conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, South Sudan seceded in 2011 and became the 54th independent state of Africa.
The secession of South Sudan led to multiple economic shocks, including the loss of oil revenue that had accounted for more than half of the Sudan government’s revenue and 95% of its exports. This has reduced economic growth and resulted in double-digit consumer price inflation, which, together with increased fuel prices, triggered violent protests in September 2013.
The high incidence of conflict, particularly past fighting that led to South Sudan’s secession, has led to a large population of refugees and internally displaced persons. Sudan is now a source, destination, and transit country for irregular migration, including refugees and asylum-seekers using the East African North-bound migratory route through Libya to Europe. The country hosts an estimated 800,000 South Sudanese refugees and 330,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea, Syria, Ethiopia, CAR, Chad, and Yemen.
Continuous food price hikes and longstanding grievances for over thirty years of rule led to mass demonstrations that started in December 2018 and culminated in the removal of the then-President, Omar Hassan El-Bashir, from power in April 2019. This led to the formation of a Transitional Government in September 2019 that carried out ambitious economic and social reforms and engaged in peace negotiations with armed groups to address conflicts and grievances across the country. This led to the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement with nearly all armed opposition groups in October 2020. A year later, in October 2021, a military takeover took place. Key government structures were dissolved and terms of the 2019 constitutional charter suspended. In early January 2022, the Prime Minister stepped down, after his efforts to reach a political settlement between domestic stakeholders failed.
Like the rest of the world, Sudan experienced the severe social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also affected by record-setting floods in 2020 and 2022, which contributed to damage estimated in billions of US dollars. Domestically, internal political confrontation remained a dominant factor.
Last Updated: Oct 03, 2022