HONOLULU, Hawaii — With the media primarily focusing on the current civil war in South Sudan, its former country, Sudan, is flying under the radar. There has been a drastic economic decline in Sudan, to put it lightly, and the secession of South Sudan has created more trouble for the poverty-stricken nation.
Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of capital and access to oil. The oil lines begin in Sudan, but they now empty out in South Sudan, thus leaving Sudan dry of oil and wealth.
The lack of oil is in part responsible for the stagnation of the Sudanese economy. The government has also attained a heaping amount of debt, and inflation is rapidly rising, currently at a whopping 43 percent per year. These factors are killing consumption rates and crushing the economy.
These reasons are not the only cause for problem in Sudan, as humanitarian issues both in the past and present have not only instigated countless deaths, but have also affected other countries’ opinions of Sudan. Besides China, who has depended on Sudan for at least 10 percent of its oil, there are not many foreign investors that are willing to involve themselves with the volatile country.
Sudan does have an abundance of fertile land that would otherwise be appealing for trade if it were not for President Omar al-Bashir’s merciless actions against his own people.
The devastating humanitarian crisis in Darfur that occurred about a decade ago, and the present, inhumane choices of al-Bashir, have both contributed to the country’s lack of security and economic stability. The horrors that took place during the genocide in Darfur are still prominent although global attention has faded away.
These long-lasting effects involve refugees still being displaced from their homes. Since then, al-Bashir has committed more questionable acts that have led to warrants for his arrest from the International Criminal Court (ICC), but never a conviction.
Due to poor economic choices made by the administration, mass protesting has ensued in Sudan.
Namely, the government failed to invest in job-creating opportunities and chose to build infrastructure and develop roads instead. While these are still standing, the lack of investment in farming and food production has left the country food-poor. Little was done to preserve an agricultural market and little is being done now to fix it.
The government has also removed subsidies due to its failing economy, which has caused its citizens to suffer even more. This has not all gone undetected by the Sudanese, as people gathered in the streets of Sudan last September to protest the removal of subsidies and horrible living conditions. President al-Bashir’s administration reacted by killing 200 of these peaceful protestors. Rather than any sort of consequence for al-Bashir, members of government who questioned and opposed his actions were fired.
Currently, conflict on the border of Sudan and South Sudan in a region called South Kordofan has caused people to flee from both countries. There are about 200,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, while many others are caught between the two countries seeking asylum anywhere they can.
While the current conflict at hand has certainly distracted the government, changes are necessary to turn around the economic decline in Sudan. Although he does not plan on running again, al-Bashir wants to remain in the pocket of whoever does, in order to certify his protection. This could be dangerous economically, as his influence on a new leader may mean the economy will not recover any time soon.
A new leader that is willing to invest in agriculture and create jobs would be obligatory for the alleviation of poverty.
– Danielle Warren
Sources: The Economist “Downhill”, The Economist “Restless”, Sudan Tribute
Photo: Yahoo News