OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of the Sudan
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Military Dictatorship
AREA: 2,505,813 Sq Km (967,500 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 29,810,600
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Sudan is located in North East Africa.
It is bound by Egypt to the north, Libya to the northwest,
Chad to the west, the Central African Republic to the southwest,
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) to the south, Uganda
and Kenya to the southeast, Ethiopia and Eritrea to the
east and the Red Sea to the northeast. The country has three
distinct regions. (1.) A flat plain which comprises most
of the country, with its center the convergence of the Blue
and White Nile Rivers. Sudds or swamp lands are located
in the southern part of this region. (2.) The Libyan and
Nubian Deserts in the northern quarter of the country. (3.)
Four mountain zones, the Red Sea Hills in the northeast,
Jabal Marrah in the west, the Nuba Mountains in the center
as well as the Immatong and Dongotona Ranges in the south.
The principal rivers are the Blue and White Nile. Major
Cities (pop. est.); Omdurman 526,300, Khartoum 476,200,
Khartoum North 341,100, Port Sudan 206,700 (1983). Land
Use; forested 19%, pastures 46%, agricultural-cultivated
5%, desert and other 30% (1993).
CLIMATE: Sudan's climate ranges from tropical to continental
while most of the northern half of the country experiences a desert climate.
The dry season ranges from three months in the humid tropical south to
nine months in Khartoum with the hottest months July and August. Average
annual precipitation varies from 160 mm (6.3 inches) to around 1,000 mm
(39 inches) in Khartoum with most rainfall occurring between April and
October. Average temperature ranges in Khartoum are from 15 to 32 degrees
Celsius (59 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 26 to 41 degrees Celsius
(79 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit) in June.
PEOPLE: Sudan's ethnic composition consists of 56 groups and
over 595 subgroups. The principal ethnic majority are the Arabs who constitute
around 49% of the population and are located in the northern half of the
country. The southern half of the country is predominantly Black African
of the Nilotic and Sudanic groups as well as other minorities including
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 12 persons per sq km (30
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 22.0% urban, 78.0% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 50.2% male, 49.8% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
48.6 years male, 51.0 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 45% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 15% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 44.6 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 15.8 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 28.8 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 108.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Islamic with over 73% of the population Sunni
Muslims while around 17% follow local native tribal beliefs and 8% are
LANGUAGES: The official language is Arabic, although over 915
languages are spoken by the Black Africans and English is also spoken by
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 15 or over 3,749,000 or 27.1% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1953 Britain and Egypt agreed
on steps leading to self-government for Sudan and in 1955 the Sudanese
Parliament voted for self-government. On Jan. 1, 1956 Sudan became fully
independent amid a civil war between the Muslims of the north and the secessionist
Christians and Animists of the south. In Nov. 1958 the military led by
Gen. Ibrahim Abboud ousted the government, established a Junta that abolished
all political parties and imprisoned many politicians. In 1964 teachers,
students, lawyers and union organizers held a general strike in protest
to Gen. Abboud. In 1965 Sayyid Sadiq el-Mahdi was elected President under
a coalition government. In May 1969 after continuing conflict in the south,
Col. Jaafar el-Nemery overthrew the government and established the communist
Sudan Socialist Union (SSU) as the sole legal party while Pres. el-Mahdi
was exiled. In Aug. 1979 Gen. Nemery cracked down on demonstrations protesting
against price increases and food shortages. In 1983 Gen. Nemery established
Islamic Sharia law throughout Sudan while further conflicts broke out in
the south. In April 1985 a group of military officers led by Gen. Abdul
Rahman Swaredahab ousted Nemery and announced elections for Apr. 1986.
In May 1986 el-Mahdi returned as head of the coalition government while
fighting continued to escalate in the south. In July 1987 a State of Emergency
was declared in an attempt to curb social and economic unrest. During 1988
Sudan experienced both severe droughts and floods which increased the already
widespread famine. In June 1989 Brig. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir led a
military coup which ousted el-Mahdi's government. During 1989 negotiations
for peace failed after the regime insisted that it would continue to apply
Islamic Sharia law. In 1990 further heavy fighting continued in the south
between the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and government
forces. In Apr. 1990 an unsuccessful coup led to the arrest of 28 army
officers who were attempting to oust the regime and abolish the Islamic
Shari'ah law, however, all were later executed by a firing squad. In June
1990 the regime signed a treaty to establish a greater measure of unity
with Libya and in Sept. 1990 another 15 officers were executed after another
unsuccessful coup attempt. In Feb. 1991 the government announced the introduction
of a federal system of government in an attempt to end the country's civil
war, although it was rejected by the SPLA leader Col. John Garang. In Mar.
1991 the government promulgated a new code of Islamic law in the north,
although this also meet with disapproval from the SPLA. In July 1991 the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced plans to repatriate thousands
of Ethiopian refugees resident in Sudan. In Aug. 1991 there was a split
in the SPLA along tribal lines which led to more violent fighting near
the towns of Bor and Kangor. Also in 1991 the country experienced acute
food shortages while thousands of workers from Kuwait returned home during
the Gulf War. In March 1992 the government assisted with Iranian troops
launched an offensive against the SPLA rebels, although it remained unsuccessful
in breaking the siege of Juba. In May 1992 representatives of both factions
of the SPLA and the government met in Nigeria in an unsuccessful attempt
to end their hostilities. The government insisted that it was prepared
to recognize the country's plurality and provide equal treatment for all
citizens, although the issue of Islamic Shari'ah law remained the greatest
obstacle. In Dec. 1992 the UN General Assembly issued a resolution expressing
serious concern for human rights violations by the Sudanese government.
In Feb. 1993 Pope John Paul II reprimanded the government for their treatment
of the Christian minority during his visit. On Aug. 6, 1993 the IMF suspended
The Sudan's membership and declared the country an "uncooperative
state". In Aug. 1993 the government launched a large-scale attack
on the rebels. On Oct. 16, 1993 the military junta appointed Lieut. Gen.
Omar al-Bashir as President and was dissolved. On Dec. 30, 1993 the British
ambassador was expelled from the country as a result of the archbishop
of Canterbury deliberately failing to visit the capital during his four-day
trip. Also in 1993 relations with Egypt soured following a border dispute
over the Hala'ib oil-rich region near the Red Sea while fierce fighting
between the two rebel factions also resulted in the displacement of many
civilians in southern Sudan.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dinar (DSd) formerly
the Pound (LSd) divided into 100 Piastres and 1,000 Milliemes.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $8,176,000,000 (1992). Public
Debt; USD $8,994,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $1,226,000,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $503,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $3,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; USD -$723,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 8,559,000
or 32.0% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 30.0% (1992 est.).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the former
USSR, Iran, India, China, the USA and Germany.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Beans, Chromium, Cotton, Crude Oil and Natural
Gas, Dates, Ground Nuts, Gum Arabic, Livestock, Sesame Seeds, Sorghum,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Food Processing, Oil Production
MAIN EXPORTS: Cereals, Cotton, Ground Nuts, Gum Arabic, Livestock,
Petroleum Products, Sesame Seeds.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 5,503 km (3,419 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 759,000,000 (471,621,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km
752,000,000 (515,045,000 short ton-mi) (1988). Roads; length 6,599 km (4,100
mi) (1985). Vehicles; cars 99,400 (1985), trucks and buses 17,211 (1985).
Merchant Marine; vessels 21 (1990), deadweight tonnage 78,661 (1990). Air
Transport; passenger-km 588,734,000 (365,822,000 passenger-mi) (1990),
cargo ton-km 12,913,000 (8,844,000 short ton-mi) (1990).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 5 with a total circulation
of 620,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 5,755,000 (1994). Television; receivers
250,000 (1994). Telephones; units 64,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 118,500 (1995) total active duty personnel with 97.1%
army, 0.4% navy and 2.5% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 17.1% (1992) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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