Country FilesNorthCountry Profile 2014: SUDAN

Fri,17Nov2017

Country Profile 2014: SUDAN

Unrest moves closer to home

After the heightened nationwide tensions and unrest in the cities in 2013, the coming months are likely to see an intensified focus on the presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2015. Although President Omar al- Bashir has said he will not run again, some National Congress Party (NCP) groups have already started campaigning for him to run once more. The last polls, in 2010, were a long way from free and fair.

 

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TOP SUDANESE COMPANIES

 

TOP SUDANESE BANKS

 

 

ar-infographie-sudan-2014Unrest moves closer to home

Soaring prices provoked street protests that were met with brutality

The arguments with South Sudan seem set to continue for years to come

After the heightened nationwide tensions and unrest in the cities in 2013, the coming months are likely to see an intensified focus on the presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2015. Although President Omar al- Bashir has said he will not run again, some National Congress Party (NCP) groups have already started campaigning for him to run once more. The last polls, in 2010, were a long way from free and fair.

If al-Bashir is not unseated by an internal coupor a combination of street protests and rebel action, the opposition will be pushing to create democratic conditions for the elections. In this, as in so many other things, they are unlikely to get what they want. The NCP may no longer be as cohesive as it once was but al-Bashir is the great survivor of Sudanese politics, and the political opposition is divided and apparently reluctant to join the loose coalition of armed rebel groups in the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

MISSING THE OIL

Recent months have been marked by growing anger with al-Bashir as the government struggles with its difficult economic choices. Sudan is still a lot worse off than it was before South Sudan seceded in July 2011, taking with it three quarters of the oil production, and the authorities now acknowledge that gold and agriculture cannot replace the missing oil revenue.

Economic growth is slowing, to an estimated 3.9% in 2013 and a forecast of 2.5% in 2014, while inflation has soared over 30%. Hampered by US sanctions and by massive debts, Sudan’s disastrous political record makes it impossible to escape either problem. In September, following advice from the IMF, the government removed fuel subsidies and the resulting rise in prices sent thousands of people into the streets to protest, in one of the biggest threats al-Bashir has faced in his 24-year rule. The security forces reacted with brutality, killing as many as 200 protesters in a few days, while many more were locked up. Further demonstrations can be expected as the cost of living rises to new levels.

The turmoil undoubtedly weakened al-Bashir’s grip on power; 31 senior NCP members signed a memorandum criticising the killings. In addition to the urban unrest, al-Bashir faces rebellions around the country’s periphery. The war in Darfur is more than a decade old, while conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are relatively fresh. In April 2013, the SRF won a major battle, attacking Umm Ruwaba in North Kordofan, and then holding on to the nearby town of Abu Karshola for almost a month.

This shocked the Khartoum elite, because the war seemed to be coming unusually close to home. The rebels are unlikely to overthrow the state, but equally the government is spending vast amounts of money on a war it cannot win.

ATTEMPTS AT RECONCILIATION

Predictably, Khartoum accused South Sudan of supporting the SRF, and for once these accusations seem to have convinced many in the international community. And yet 2013 did see some progress in the relationship with South Sudan. In April al-Bashir travelled to Juba, seeking to put an end to the post-separation squabbles. South Sudan agreed to turn its oil production back on, and export it through Sudan again. Both states will benefit financially from this.

A demilitarised buffer zone was set up to encourage both countries to stop supporting each other’s rebels, but this wasn’t enough for al-Bashir. Two months later, he was accusing the South Sudanese of going back on their word, and he threatened to turn off the pipelines once more. That crisis was only averted under heavy international pressure, and after South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, had visited Khartoum to patch things up.

Sudan and South Sudan will continue to argue for years to come, not least as the disputes over the borders and particularly the highly sensitive Abyei region have so far remained unresolved. Sudan cannot be peaceful unless it improves its relationship with South Sudan, but this has proved extremely difficult so far.

 

 TOP SUDANESE COMPANIES

Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
233231SUDANESE TELECOM CO.TELECOMSSUDAN594,3696.16%43,171
 

 

 TOP SUDANESE BANKS

Rank 2012Rank 2011Bank nameCountryTotal assetsNet interest incomeLoansDeposits
108-BANK OF KHARTOUM*SUDAN1,600,54029,0281,115,5811,141,319
118126FAISAL ISLAMIC BANK SUDANSUDAN1,416,629136,5970414,351
195-EL NILEIN BANKSUDAN510,10025,123337,558225,565
 


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