The Sudanese government is under economic strain as the conflicts in Darfur and the territories that border South Sudan continue to sap the treasury.
The Sudanese government is under unprecedented stress as it faces a crisis of multiple security, political, social and economic challenges. It remains unable to overcome an economic crisis and end insurgencies in Darfur and border regions.
Although the country was able to avoid an Arab Spring type revolution, Khartoum and East Sudan, along with universities across Sudan, have hosted small anti-government demonstrations in the past few months.
Some have been a response to immediate issues including poor transportation, water and electricity cuts, and the sky-rocketing prices of basic food stuffs, while others have manifested a rejection of the regime.
The government insists everything is under control. The central banks says that there will be positive economic growth in 2012, but the IMF disagrees.
“The official figures are extremely exaggerated,” says Abda al-Mahdi, economic analyst and former state minister of finance. “The government is facing major challenges: imports have become more expensive due to the loss of oil revenues; there’s a shortage in foreign currency, a devalued currency that hinders international trade, $38bn external debt and even domestic lending is no longer an effective way of getting revenues.
“The only solution to save this economy from collapsing is to cut military spending, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of the budget,” Abda says.
Such a decision could have troublesome implications for the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). It is broadly split between the security hardliners including President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his top aide Nafie Ali Nafie, who see the crises as minor issues and remain committed to a military solution to chronic instability.
The other camp, led by Ali Osman Taha, calls for internal party reform to address the NCP’s problems.
The National Consensus Forces, a coalition of mainstream opposition parties including the National Umma Party and the Popular Congress Party, have been calling for a wider constitutional review and are preparing different scenarios for a post-Bashir democratic Sudan.
This article was first published in the November edition of The Africa Report, on sale at newsstands, via our print subscription or our digital edition.
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