Sudan is affected by conflict and at the centre of an unstable region. A deterioration in the political and economic situation in Sudan would have a significant impact throughout the Horn of Africa and the north of Africa, with direct consequences for UK national interests. Over half the population, roughly 18 million people, live on less than $1.90 per day, and many do not have access to basic services such as water supply. Nearly 6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Communities are highly vulnerable to the effects of conflict and climate shocks, lacking the means to cope with events such as a bad harvest. The population is increasingly young, and will double every 27 years at the current rate. The Sudanese economy is not generating sufficient jobs to enable young people to find a productive livelihood. There is a risk that this will encourage migration as young people seek a better life outside Sudan; and contribute to radicalisation as young people seek an outlet for their frustration. Sudan is ranked sixth in the world on the Global Slavery Index, with an estimated 454,700 people living in modern slavery.

According to the African Development Bank from 2011 to 2016, real GDP growth averaged 3.3%, down from 7.1% from 2000 to 2010. Growth was estimated at 3.5% in 2017, reflecting lower domestic demand due  to the removal of energy subsidies and weaker imports due to the depreciation of the exchange rate and U.S. sanctions, which were permanently revoked in October 2017. Medium-term growth in 2018–19 is projected to average 3.7%, driven by private and public consumption and reforms induced by the removal of sanctions. The immediate impact of reforms will hinder growth, but this  is expected to recover with higher domestic supply and exports over the medium term.

BERF work in Sudan

BERF has completed a diagnostic study in Sudan, with a particular focus on the agricultural sector.

BERF Sudan Projects

  1. Sudan: Review of Business Environment Constraints


World Bank Doing Business

Sudan ranked 170 in the Doing Business Index for 2018.  The distance to frontier score of 44.46 was little changed from the previous year (44.29), and remains below the regional average (50.43).  No significant reforms are listed for 2018 in the Doing Business report.

 DFID Sudan Strategy

Humanitarian and building resilience to crises: In 2015/16 the UK provided emergency humanitarian assistance to 1.2 million people in Sudan. By 2021, the UK will have provided assistance to at least 550,000 people every year who are affected by conflict, climate and an unreliable food supply. The UK will help vulnerable communities to become better able to cope with conflict and climate shocks, and support better management of natural resources, building on the achievement of providing over 1 million people with sustainable access to clean drinking water between 2011-2015. By 2021 the UK will provide this access to an additional 2 million people.

Building stability and institutions:  The UK will work to lay the foundations for a more prosperous Sudan, with better governance, more inclusive economic development, and a coordinated approach to tackling climate shocks. By 2021, The UK  will improve public financial management in four targeted states of Sudan, strengthening transparency and revenue generation; improve Sudan’s business ratings on access to credit; empower over 100,000 people to hold their local authorities to account; and influence £800 million of donor funding to be more climate smart. The UK will work to address the causes of migration, modern slavery and radicalisation, encouraging Sudanese people to contribute to a productive future in Sudan.

Reform the aid system:  The UK will lead a more effective response across the international community to the long term crisis in Darfur, addressing immediate humanitarian need while also putting in place longer term development solutions. The UK will use its diplomatic and development expertise to improve the way the aid system works in Sudan, ensuring value for money by tackling corruption and building a more effective relationship with the government of Sudan to improve humanitarian access.