FAO in Sudan

Sudan at a glance

After the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan is about 1.8 million km² and still ranks among Africa’s largest countries. It is located between the desert in the north region and the fertile, humid savannah belt in the south. The Nile Valley runs south to north and its perennial tributaries are bordered by vast, fertile river banks and plains that are suitable to build a thriving agriculture and livestock economy.

Sudan has had one of the highest growth rates amongst Sub-Saharan African countries and a rapidly rising per capita income, with per capita GDP of US$1,500. Nonetheless, the country’s human development outcomes remain weak. Sudan ranks 171 out of 187 countries in the latest UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013.

Agriculture including livestock and fishing is the most important economic sector in Sudan, contributing to about a third of the country’s GDP and providing a livelihood to about two-thirds of the active population. The export of livestock has become an increasingly important part of the economy, competing with cash crop sales as the fastest growing non-oil export sector. Camels, cattle, sheep and goats are exported mainly to Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States and Egypt. Around 25 percent of the exported livestock come from Darfur, after a sharp decline in Darfur’s export capacity due to conflict. Increased export sales have caused an increase in domestic livestock prices in all market.

The pattern of economic growth in Sudan had always been lopsided between regions and social groups benefiting few areas and limited social groups. The high growth rate attained during the last two decades conceals wide gaps in income equality, employment and incidence of poverty. The incidence of poverty between rural and urban, the centre and the peripheries, and gender is highly skewed. Despite the rising per capita income, the incidence of poverty is high, with 46.5 percent of the population living below the poverty line.