Photos of Sudan

The pyramids of the Kushite rulers at Meroe, Sudan, are the world’s largest collection of pyramids (more than 200) and are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes the settlements and religious centers of Musawwarat es-Sufra and Naqa.  Meroe, located between the Nile and Atbara rivers, was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, an empire in Nubia that extended from the Mediterranean to sub-Saharan Africa between the 8th century B.C. and the 4th century A.D.

Introduction

Background

Long referred to as Nubia, modern-day Sudan was the site of the Kingdom of Kerma (ca. 2500-1500 B.C.) until it was absorbed into the New Kingdom of Egypt. By the 11th century B.C., the Kingdom of Kush gained independence from Egypt; it lasted in various forms until the middle of the 4th century A.D. After the fall of Kush, the Nubians formed three Christian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria, and Alodia, with the latter two enduring until around 1500. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, Arab nomads settled much of Sudan, leading to extensive Islamization between the 16th and 19th centuries. Following Egyptian occupation early in the 19th century, an agreement in 1899 set up a joint British-Egyptian government in Sudan, but it was effectively a British colony.

Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since Sudan gained independence from Anglo-Egyptian co-rule in 1956. During most of the second half of the 20th century, Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars rooted in northern domination of the largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern portion of the country. The first civil war ended in 1972, but another broke out in 1983. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04, and the final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. South Sudan became independent in 2011, but Sudan and South Sudan have yet to fully implement security and economic agreements to normalize relations between the two countries. Sudan has also faced conflict in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile starting in 2003.

In 2019, after months of nationwide protests, the 30-year reign of President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR ended when the military forced him out. Economist and former international civil servant Abdalla HAMDOUK al-Kinani was selected to serve as the prime minister of a transitional government as the country prepared for elections in 2022. In late 2021, however, the Sudanese military ousted HAMDOUK and his government and replaced civilian members of the Sovereign Council (Sudan’s collective Head of State) with individuals selected by the military. HAMDOUK was briefly reinstated but resigned in January 2022. General Abd-al-Fatah al-BURHAN Abd-al-Rahman, the Chair of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, currently serves as de facto head of state and government. He presides over a Sovereign Council consisting of military leaders, former armed opposition group representatives, and military-appointed civilians. A cabinet of acting ministers handles day-to-day administration. 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

north-eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea

Geographic coordinates

15 00 N, 30 00 E

Area

total: 1,861,484 sq km

land: 1,731,671 sq km

water: 129,813 sq km

comparison ranking: total 17

Area - comparative

slightly less than one-fifth the size of the US

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 6,819 km

border countries (7): Central African Republic 174 km; Chad 1,403 km; Egypt 1,276 km; Eritrea 682 km; Ethiopia 744 km; Libya 382 km; South Sudan 2,158 km

note: Sudan-South Sudan boundary represents 1 January 1956 alignment; final alignment pending negotiations and demarcation; final sovereignty status of Abyei region pending negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan

Coastline

853 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 18 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

hot and dry; arid desert; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Terrain

generally flat, featureless plain; desert dominates the north

Elevation

highest point: Jabal Marrah 3,042 m

lowest point: Red Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 568 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 100% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 84.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 0% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

15,666 sq km (2020)

Major rivers (by length in km)

An Nīl (Nile) (shared with Rwanda [s], Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km; Blue Nile river mouth (shared with Ethiopia [s]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Nubian Aquifer System, Sudd Basin (Umm Ruwaba Aquifer)

Population distribution

with the exception of a ribbon of settlement that corresponds to the banks of the Nile, northern Sudan, which extends into the dry Sahara, is sparsely populated; more abundant vegetation and broader access to water increases population distribution in the south extending habitable range along nearly the entire border with South Sudan; sizeable areas of population are found around Khartoum, southeast between the Blue and White Nile Rivers, and throughout South Darfur as shown on this population distribution map

Natural hazards

dust storms and periodic persistent droughts

Geography - note

the Nile is Sudan's primary water source; its major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, meet at Khartoum to form the River Nile which flows northward through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea

People and Society

Population

total: 50,467,278

male: 25,335,092

female: 25,132,186 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 31; male 29; total 29

Nationality

noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Sudanese

Ethnic groups

Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Ingessana, Uduk, Fallata, Masalit, Dajo, Gimir, Tunjur, Berti; there are over 500 ethnic groups

Languages

Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

Arabic audio sample:

Religions

Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority

Demographic profile

Sudan’s population grew almost fourfold between 1956 and 2008, the date of its last census.  Even after the southern part of the country became independent South Sudan in 2011, the population of Sudan has continued to grow.  The gender balance overall is fairly even.  Females, however, are more prevalent in rural areas because of males migrating to urban areas in search of work.  The total fertility rate (TFR) remains high despite falling from 7 children per woman in Sudan’s first census in 1955 to about 4.5 in 2022, which can be attributed to early marriage and a low contraceptive prevalence rate.  Among the factors that led to the reduction in fertility are family planning, improvement in women’s education and participation in the labor force outside the home, and migration and urbanization. 

The continued slow decline in fertility accompanied by a drop in mortality and increased life expectancy has produced an age structure where approximately 55% of the population was of working age (15-64) as of 2020.  This share will grow as the sizable youth population becomes working age.  As Sudan’s working age population increasingly outnumbers the youth and elderly populations (the dependent populations), the country will approach the possibility of a demographic dividend.  The window of opportunity for potential economic growth depends not only on a favorable age structure but also on having a trained and educated workforce, job creation (particularly in the formal market), and investment in health, as well as generating savings to invest in schooling and care for the elderly.  As of 2018, Sudan’s literacy rate was just over 60%, and even lower among women.  Improvements in school enrollment, student-teacher ratio, infrastructure, funding, and educational quality could help the country to realize a demographic dividend.

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.1% (male 10,278,453/female 9,949,343)

15-64 years: 56.7% (male 14,211,514/female 14,390,486)

65 years and over: 3.2% (2024 est.) (male 845,125/female 792,357)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 76.9

youth dependency ratio: 74

elderly dependency ratio: 6.2

potential support ratio: 16.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 19.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 19 years

female: 19.6 years

comparison ranking: total 212

Population growth rate

2.55% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 16

Birth rate

33.1 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 18

Death rate

6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 148

Net migration rate

-1.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Population distribution

with the exception of a ribbon of settlement that corresponds to the banks of the Nile, northern Sudan, which extends into the dry Sahara, is sparsely populated; more abundant vegetation and broader access to water increases population distribution in the south extending habitable range along nearly the entire border with South Sudan; sizeable areas of population are found around Khartoum, southeast between the Blue and White Nile Rivers, and throughout South Darfur as shown on this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 36.3% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

6.344 million KHARTOUM (capital), 1.057 million Nyala (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.07 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

270 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 31

Infant mortality rate

total: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 46 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.8 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 28

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.8 years (2024 est.)

male: 65.5 years

female: 70.2 years

comparison ranking: total population 194

Total fertility rate

4.47 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

Gross reproduction rate

2.18 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99% of population

rural: 80.7% of population

total: 87.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 1% of population

rural: 19.3% of population

total: 12.9% of population (2020 est.)

Physician density

0.26 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

0.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 72.1% of population

rural: 30.6% of population

total: 45.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 27.9% of population

rural: 69.4% of population

total: 54.7% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, Rift Valley fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Sudan is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

6.6% (2014)

comparison ranking: 165

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.93 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 131

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 60.7%

male: 65.4%

female: 56.1% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 8 years

male: 8 years

female: 7 years (2015)

Environment

Environment - current issues

water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; water scarcity and periodic drought; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; deforestation; loss of biodiversity

 

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

hot and dry; arid desert; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Land use

agricultural land: 100% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 84.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 0% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 36.3% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to conflict, civil insecurity, and soaring food prices - according to the results of the latest analysis, about 11.7 million people (24% of the analyzed population) are estimated to be severely food insecure during June to September 2022; the main drivers are macroeconomic challenges resulting in rampant food and non‑food inflation, tight supplies due to a poor 2021 harvest and the escalation of intercommunal violence (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

3.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 173

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 21.43 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 20 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 75.1 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,831,291 tons (2015 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

An Nīl (Nile) (shared with Rwanda [s], Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km; Blue Nile river mouth (shared with Ethiopia [s]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Nubian Aquifer System, Sudd Basin (Umm Ruwaba Aquifer)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 950 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 80 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 25.91 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

37.8 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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, Democratic Republic of the Sudan

etymology: the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]"

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Khartoum

geographic coordinates: 15 36 N, 32 32 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: several explanations of the name exist; two of the more plausible are that it is derived from Arabic "al-jartum" meaning "elephant's trunk" or "hose," and likely referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles; alternatively, the name could derive from the Dinka words "khar-tuom," indicating a "place where rivers meet"

Administrative divisions

18 states (wilayat, singular - wilayah); Blue Nile, Central Darfur, East Darfur, Gedaref, Gezira, Kassala, Khartoum, North Darfur, North Kordofan, Northern, Red Sea, River Nile, Sennar, South Darfur, South Kordofan, West Darfur, West Kordofan, White Nile

note: the peace Agreement signed in October 2020 included a provision to establish a system of governance to restructure the country's current 18 provinces/states into regions

Independence

1 January 1956 (from Egypt and the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 January (1956)

Constitution

history: previous 1973, 1998, 2005 (interim constitution, which was suspended in April 2019); latest initial draft completed by Transitional Military Council in May 2019; revised draft known as the "Draft Constitutional Charter for the 2019 Transitional Period," or “2019 Constitutional Declaration” was signed by the Council and opposition coalition on 4 August 2019

amendments: amended 2020 to incorporate the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan; the military suspended several provisions of the Constitutional Declaration in October 2021

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic law and English common law; note - in mid-July 2020, Sudan amended 15 provisions of its 1991 penal code

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2008

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Sudan

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

17 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Sovereign Council Chair and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces General Abd-al-Fattah al-BURHAN Abd-al-Rahman

head of government: Sovereign Council Chair and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces General Abd-al-Fattah al-BURHAN Abd-al-Rahman

cabinet: most members of the Council of Ministers were forced from office in October 2021 by the military and subsequently resigned in November 2021; the military allowed a handful of ministers appointed by former armed opposition groups to retain their posts; at present, most of the members of the Council are senior civil servants serving in an acting minister capacity appointed either by Prime Minister HAMDOUK prior to his resignation or by the military

elections/appointments: the 2019 Constitutional Declaration originally called for elections to be held in late 2022 at the end of the transitional period; that date was pushed back to late 2023 by the Juba Peace Agreement; the methodology for future elections has not yet been defined; according to the 2019 Constitutional Declaration, civilian members of the Sovereign Council and the prime minister were to have been nominated by an umbrella coalition of civilian actors known as the Forces for Freedom and Change; this methodology was followed in selecting HAMDOUK as prime minister in August 2019; the military purports to have suspended this provision of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration in October 2021; Prime Minister HAMDOUK’s restoration to office in November 2021 was the result of an agreement signed between him and Sovereign Council Chair BURHAN; military members of the Sovereign Council are selected by the leadership of the security forces; representatives of former armed groups to the Sovereign Council are selected by the signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement

election results: NA

note 1: the 2019 Constitutional Declaration established a collective chief of state of the "Sovereign Council," which was chaired by al-BURHAN; on 25 October 2021, al-BURHAN dissolved the Sovereign Council but reinstated it on 11 November 2021, replacing its civilian members (previously selected by the umbrella civilian coalition the Forces for Freedom and Change) with civilians of the military’s choosing but then relieved the newly appointed civilian members of their duties on 6 July 2022

note 2: Sovereign Council currently consists of only the 5 generals

note 3: former Prime Minister Abdallah HAMDOUK resigned on 2 January 2022; HAMDOUK served as prime minister from August 2019 to October 2019 before he was kidnapped; he was later freed and reinstated as prime minister on 21 November 2021

Legislative branch

description: according to the August 2019 Constitutional Declaration, which established Sudan's transitional government, the Transitional Legislative Council (TLC) was to have served as the national legislature during the transitional period until elections could be held; as of June 2023, the TLC had not been established

elections: Council of State - last held 1 June 2015; dissolved in April 2019
National Assembly - last held on 13-15 April 2015; dissolved in April 2019

note: according to the 2019 Constitutional Declaration, elections for a new legislature are to be held in late 2023

election results: Council of State - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 35, women 19, percentage women 35.2%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; former seats by party - NCP 323, DUP 25, Democratic Unionist Party 15, other 44, independent 19; composition - men 296 women 130, percentage women 30.5%; total National Legislature percentage women 31%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): National Supreme Court (consists of 70 judges organized into panels of 3 judges and includes 4 circuits that operate outside the capital); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 justices including the court president); note - the Constitutional Court resides outside the national judiciary and has not been appointed since the signature of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration

judge selection and term of office: National Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges selected by the Supreme Judicial Council, which replaced the National Judicial Service Commission upon enactment of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; other national courts; public courts; district, town, and rural courts

Political parties and leaders

Major Parties as of April 2019:
Democratic Unionist Party [Muhammad Uthman al-MIRGHANI]
Democratic Unionist Party or DUP [Babika BABIKER]
Federal Umma Party [Dr. Ahmed Babikir NAHAR]
Muslim Brotherhood or MB [Sadig Abdalla ABDELMAJID and Dr. Yousif Al-Hibir Nor-ELDAYIM]
National Congress Party or NCP [Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR]
National Umma Party or NUP [Fadlallah Baramah NASSER]
Popular Congress Party or PCP [Nawal Al-KHIDIR]
Reform Movement Now [Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin al-ATABANI]
Sudan National Front [Ali Mahmud HASANAYN]
Sudanese Communist Party or SCP [Mohammed Moktar Al-KHATEEB]
Sudanese Congress Party or SCoP [Omar El DIGAIR]
Umma Party for Reform and Development [Mubarak Al-Fadul Al-MAHDI]
Unionist Movement Party or UMP [led by DUP Chair Mohammed Osama Al-MERGHANI]

note: in November 2019, the transitional government banned the National Congress Party

International organization participation

ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU (suspended), CAEU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Abdalla IDRIS (since 16 September 2022)

chancery: 2210 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 338-8565

FAX: [1] (202) 667-2406

email address and website:
consular@sudanembassy.org

https://www.sudanembassy.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador John T. GODFREY (since 1 September 2022)

embassy: P.O. Box 699, Kilo 10, Soba, Khartoum

mailing address: 2200 Khartoum Place, Washington DC  20521-2200

telephone: [249] 187-0-22000

email address and website:
ACSKhartoum@state.gov

https://sd.usembassy.gov/

note:  the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum suspended operations on 22 April 2023, and the Department of State ordered the departure of U.S. employees due to the continued threat from armed conflict in Sudan 

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; colors and design based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I, but the meanings of the colors are expressed as follows: red signifies the struggle for freedom, white is the color of peace, light, and love, black represents the people of Sudan (in Arabic 'Sudan' means black), green is the color of Islam, agriculture, and prosperity

National symbol(s)

secretary bird; national colors: red, white, black, green

National anthem

name: "Nahnu Djundulla Djundulwatan" (We Are the Army of God and of Our Land)

lyrics/music: Sayed Ahmad Muhammad SALIH/Ahmad MURJAN

note: adopted 1956; originally served as the anthem of the Sudanese military

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (2 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region (c); Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe (c); Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (n)

Economy

Economic overview

low-income Sahel economy; one of the world’s major agricultural exporters; shared oil pipeline exports with South Sudan; transitional government increasing human capital investment; food prices hit hard by COVID-19; ongoing Gezira Scheme irrigation project

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$167.369 billion (2022 est.)
$168.98 billion (2021 est.)
$172.198 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 74

Real GDP growth rate

-0.95% (2022 est.)
-1.87% (2021 est.)
-3.63% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 198

Real GDP per capita

$3,600 (2022 est.)
$3,700 (2021 est.)
$3,900 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 186

GDP (official exchange rate)

$51.662 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

138.81% (2022 est.)
359.09% (2021 est.)
163.26% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 219

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 39.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 2.6% (2017 est.)

services: 57.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 137; industry 222; agriculture 10

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 77.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 5.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 18.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.6% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 9.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -11.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sorghum, sugarcane, milk, groundnuts, millet, onions, sesame seeds, goat milk, bananas, mangoes/guavas (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly, milling

Industrial production growth rate

-0.74% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 178

Labor force

13.45 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 46

Unemployment rate

17.59% (2022 est.)
19.19% (2021 est.)
19.21% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 200

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 35.6% (2021 est.)

male: 30.5%

female: 45.8%

comparison ranking: total 25

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

34.2 (2014 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 110

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 27.8% (2014 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

2.9% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.27% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.83% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $3.479 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $8.277 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-10.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 213

Public debt

121.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
99.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Taxes and other revenues

7.39% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 202

Current account balance

-$4.443 billion (2022 est.)
-$2.62 billion (2021 est.)
-$5.841 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 172

Exports

$5.908 billion (2022 est.)
$6.664 billion (2021 est.)
$5.065 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 133

Exports - partners

UAE 43%, China 16%, Italy 8%, Egypt 8%, Turkey 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

gold, crude petroleum, oil seeds, ground nuts, cotton (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$11.575 billion (2022 est.)
$10.271 billion (2021 est.)
$10.52 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 114

Imports - partners

China 22%, UAE 20%, India 18%, Egypt 9%, Turkey 5% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

raw sugar, wheat, refined petroleum, garments, jewelry (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$177.934 million (2017 est.)
$168.284 million (2016 est.)
$173.516 million (2015 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 183

Debt - external

$56.05 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$51.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 63

Exchange rates

Sudanese pounds (SDG) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
546.759 (2022 est.)
370.791 (2021 est.)
53.996 (2020 est.)
45.767 (2019 est.)
24.329 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 63.2% (2022 est.)

electrification - urban areas: 84%

electrification - rural areas: 49.4%

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 3.815 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 14.875 billion kWh (2022 est.)

imports: 933 million kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 3.913 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 153; imports 79; consumption 85; installed generating capacity 102

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 37.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 61.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

exports: 35 metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 300 metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 68,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 127,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 1.25 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

proven reserves: 84.951 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

16.497 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 16.496 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 93

Energy consumption per capita

6.271 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 163

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 156,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2022 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 125

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 34.671 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 74 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 45

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Sudan emerged as a poorer country when South Sudan separated from it in 2011; although Sudan has about four times the population of South Sudan, the latter benefits from its control of the majority of known oil reserves; the Sudanese economy has been affected by hyperinflation in recent years, partly the result of the loss of oil revenue but also due to domestic volatility and social unrest; the difficult economic conditions have meant that for several years telcos have reported revenue under hyper inflationary reporting standards; pressure on revenue has made it difficult for operators to invest in infrastructure upgrades, and so provide improved services to customers; despite this, the number of mobile subscribers increased 7% in 2021, year-on-year; this level of growth is expected to have been maintained in 2022, though could slow from 2023; the country’s poor fixed-line infrastructure has helped the development of mobile broadband services; after fighting started in April 2023, much of the telecommunications infrastructure was damaged (2023)

domestic: teledensity fixed-line is 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 74 telephones per 100 persons (2022)

international: country code - 249; landing points for the EASSy, FALCON and SAS-1,-2, fiber-optic submarine cable systems linking Africa, the Middle East, Indian Ocean Islands and Asia; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

Following the establishment of Sudan’s transitional government in August 2019, government-owned broadcasters became increasingly independent from government and military control. Following the October 2021 military takeover, additional restrictions were imposed on these government-owned broadcasters, which now practice a heightened degree of self-censorship but still operate more independently than in the pre-2019 environment. (2022)

Internet users

total: 13.248 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 28.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 53

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 28,782 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 156

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 42

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 269,958 (2018)

Airports

41 (2024)

comparison ranking: 100

Heliports

4 (2024)

Pipelines

156 km gas, 4,070 km oil, 1,613 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 7,251 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 5,851 km (2014) 1.067-m gauge

1,400 km 0.600-m gauge for cotton plantations

comparison ranking: total 31

Roadways

total: 30,000 km

paved: 8,000 km

unpaved: 22,000 km

urban: 1,000 km (2019)

comparison ranking: total 101

Waterways

4,068 km (2011) (1,723 km open year-round on White and Blue Nile Rivers)

comparison ranking: 27

Merchant marine

total: 14 (2023)

by type: other 14

comparison ranking: total 153

Ports

total ports: 4 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 2

small: 2

very small: 0

ports with oil terminals: 3

key ports: Al Khair Oil Terminal, Beshayer Oil Terminal, Port Sudan, Sawakin Harbor

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF): Ground Force, Navy, Sudanese Air Force; Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Border Guards

Ministry of Interior: security police, special forces police, traffic police, Central Reserve Police (2023)

note 1: the RSF is a semi-autonomous paramilitary force formed in 2013 to fight armed rebel groups in Sudan, with Mohammed Hamdan DAGALO (aka Hemeti) as its commander; it was initially placed under the National Intelligence and Security Service, then came under the direct command of former president Omar al-BASHIR, who boosted the RSF as his own personal security force; as a result, the RSF was better funded and equipped than the regular armed forces; the RSF has since recruited from all parts of Sudan beyond its original Darfuri Arab groups but remains under the personal patronage and control of DAGALO; the RSF has participated in combat operations in Yemen and in counterinsurgency operations in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile State; it has also been active along the borders with Libya and the Central African Republic and has been used to respond to anti-regime demonstrations; the RSF has been accused of committing human rights abuses against civilians and is reportedly involved in business enterprises, such as gold mining

note 2: the Central Reserve Police (aka Abu Tira) is a combat-trained paramilitary force that has been used against demonstrators and sanctioned by the US for human rights abuses

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
2% of GDP (2018 est.)
3.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: many defense expenditures are probably off-budget

comparison ranking: 130

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates vary widely; up to 200,000 SAF personnel; the strength of the RSF ranges from a low of about 30,000 to as many as 100,000 fighters; up to 80,000 Central Reserve Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the SAF's inventory includes a mix of Chinese, Russian, Soviet-era, and domestically produced weapons systems; in recent years, China and Russia have been the leading arms providers; Sudan has one of the largest defense industries in Africa, which includes state-owned companies with military involvement; it mostly manufactures weapons systems under license from China, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-33 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service for men and women; 12-24 month service obligation (2023)

note: implementation of conscription is reportedly uneven

Military - note

the primary responsibilities of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) are internal security, border control, and countering potential external threats from its neighbors; SAF operations have traditionally been supported by militia and paramilitary forces, particularly the Rapid Support Forces (RSF); in the Spring of 2023, heavy fighting broke out between the SAF and the RSF amid disputes over an internationally-backed plan for a transition towards civilian rule, particularly around the capital Khartoum and the western region of Darfur; fighting continued into 2024 with reports of ethnic cleansing, food insecurity, heavy civilian casualties, and millions of internally displaced persons

the Sudanese military has been a dominant force in the ruling of the country since its independence in 1956; in addition, the military has a large role in the country's economy, reportedly controlling over 200 commercial companies, including businesses involved in gold mining, rubber production, agriculture, and meat exports

the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has operated in the disputed Abyei region along the border between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011; UNISFA's mission includes ensuring security, protecting civilians, strengthening the capacity of the Abyei Police Service, de-mining, monitoring/verifying the redeployment of armed forces from the area, and facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid; as of 2024, UNISFA had approximately 3,200 personnel assigned

the October 2020 peace agreement provided for the establishment of a Joint Security Keeping Forces (JSKF) comprised of 12,000 personnel tasked with securing the Darfur region in the place of the UN African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force that operated in the war-torn region between 2007 and the end of its mandate in December 2020; in June 2021, Sudan's transitional government announced it would increase the size of this force to 20,000 and expand its mission scope to include the capital and other parts of the country suffering from violence; the force would include the SAF, RSF, police, intelligence, and representatives from armed groups involved in peace negotiations; in September 2022, the first 2,000 members of the JSKF completed training; the status of the JSKF since the start of the civil war is unclear (2024)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); al-Qa’ida; Harakat Sawa’d Misr

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 696,246 (South Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers), 137,402 (Eritrea) (refugees and asylum seekers), 93,477 (Syria) (refugees and asylum seekers), 72,334 (Ethiopia) (refugees and asylum seekers), 18,279 (Central African Republic) (2023)

IDPs: 6.5 million (armed conflict between rival factions of the military government of Sudan since 15 April 2023) (2024); note - includes some non-Sudanese nationals