Economy in Sudan

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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 arrearages continue to cause difficulties. In 1990 the International Monetary Fund took the unusual step of declaring Sudan noncooperative because of its nonpayment of arrearages 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

GDP: purchasing power parity—$26.6 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$875 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 33%

industry: 17%

services: 50% (1992 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 27% (mid-1997 est.)

Labor force:

total: 11 million (1996 est.)

by occupation: agriculture 80% industry and commerce 10% government 6%

note: labor shortages for almost all categories of skilled employment (1983 est.)

Unemployment rate: 18.7% (2005 est.)


revenues: $482 million

expenditures: $1.5 billion including capital expenditures of $30 million (1996)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 500 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.305 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 43 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cotton groundnuts sorghum millet wheat gum arabic sesame; sheep


total value: $620 million (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: cotton 23% sesame 22% livestock/meat 13% gum arabic 5% (1996)

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


total value: $1.5 billion (1996)

commodities: foodstuffs petroleum products manufactured goods machinery and equipment medicines and chemicals textiles (1996)

partners: Saudi Arabia 10% South Korea 7% Germany 6% Egypt 6% (1996)

Debt—external: $20.3 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $387 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Sudanese pound (£Sd) = 100 piastres

Exchange rates: Sudanese pounds (£Sd) per US$1—official rate: 1 602.70 (July 1997) 1 250.79 (1996) 580.87 (1995) 289.61 (1994) 159.31 (1993); market rate: 1 612.90 (July 1997) 1 250.79 (1996) 571.02 (August 1995) 289.61 (1994) 159.31 (1993) 97.43 (1992)

note: the market rate is a unified exchange rate determined by a committee of local bankers without official intervention and is quoted uniformly by all commercial banks

Fiscal year: calendar year

note: prior to July 1995 Sudan had a fiscal year that began on 1 July and ended on 30 June; as a transition to their new fiscal year a six-month budget was implemented for 1 July-31 December 1995; the new calendar year (1 January-31 December) fiscal year became effective 1 January 1996

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