Sudan Country Report
A probable constitutional referendum in late 2018 is likely to facilitate President Omar al-Bashir's re-election in 2020. A cabinet reshuffle on 14 May weakened opposition to this strategy from emerging within the ruling party and a forced change of government is currently unlikely. Anti-government protests against austerity measures enforced in January are also unlikely to gain momentum. Sudan is unlikely to rectify a severe hard-currency shortage. Fuel reserves were also depleted in April, increasing Sudan's economic dependence on Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Oil operators face tax negotiations during contract renewal, but infrastructure is unlikely to face property damage as the anti-government SPLM-N's new leadership engages in peace negotiations.
Sudan's economy is largely controlled by the military and security services. Non-competitive direct tenders are common and favour political allies. Ruling National Congress Party officials affiliated with undervalued corporations will probably engage in asset stripping during privatisation drives to encourage non-oil diversification, by selling off high-value assets to increase their net worth. This tactic is prevalent in real estate. Labour unions are weak and strike action is confined to the public sector, in which doctors, teachers, and nurses experience recurrent wage payment delays exacerbated by austerity measures in the 2018 state budget.
The Sudanese government will exploit a factional split within Sudan's principal anti-government armed group, the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N). As a result, SPLM-N in South Kordofan is the most likely to agree an African Union-mediated peace settlement while a four-month ceasefire initiated on 1 February 2018 will probably remain in effect. Meanwhile, SPLM-N forces in Blue Nile have limited operational capability. In both cases, front lines have retreated substantially and oil assets are unlikely to be targeted. Priority targets are instead Sudanese military personnel and bases. Hotspots include Haiban, Kauda, and Talodi areas in South Kordofan, and positions southwest of Kilgo, Blue Nile.
Egypt is threatened by Sudan's engagement with Turkey and Ethiopia. However, military escalation is unlikely due to lack of capability and political will. Egypt's foreign minister reported on 7 May 2018 that negotiations over Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam had stalled, although a diplomatic solution is still likely. Separately, sovereignty disputes are triggers for border skirmishes with South Sudan. However, mutual economic dependence on maintaining oil transit through Sudan would facilitate de-escalation. Flashpoints are the disputed Heglig and Abyei, and Malakal bordering Blue Nile and South Kordofan, which controls access to oil Blocks 3 and 7. South Sudan is less militarily capable than Sudan.
Rising living costs worsened by import subsidy removals in January 2018 will motivate sporadic, localised protests this year. However, government control over the supply of basic goods does insulate the middle classes, preventing protests escalating nationwide and reducing the likelihood of vandalism targeting commercial property. Riot police also respond quickly and have a low legal threshold for using lethal force. Hotspots in the capital, Khartoum, include Inqaz, al-Baladiya Street, Nile Street, and the University of Khartoum in the capital, Khartoum, as well as low-income neighbourhoods.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over nine months of age. A certificate may be required for travelers departing Sudan.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Intense sand storms (haboobs) can strike the country from March to August and can result in disruptions to transportation as well as respiratory problems.
Rainfall is possible in some central and southern regions during the summer (July to September). While rainfall is usually relatively light, it can result in flash flooding. During the summer 2016, more than 122,000 people have been affected by major flooding, with 13,000 homes destroyed. Flooding has also hindered access to drinking water, food, and health facilities, particularly in isolated and poverty-stricken areas, where various outbreaks of disease have been reported. Furthermore, many roads become impassable following episodes of rain.
In late July 2014, Khartoum was also hit by major flooding, resulting in major travel disruptions.
Travel restrictions are in effect for much of the country. Foreign nationals must apply for a « travel book » for all trips outside of Khartoum state. This can been requested at Sudanese embassies worldwide when applying for a visa, or at the Ministry of Tourism. The travel book is generally available within 48 hours. It must be kept on hand at all times and will be asked for at checkpoints.
When undertaking any journey by car, individuals should be aware that roads are often unpaved and in poor condition. During the rainy season (July to September) many roads become impassable. Road accidents are common, in part due to the general disregard for the rules of the road. Driving at night should be avoided. Any travel outside the capital should be undertaken within a convoy of at least two cars, with an armed escort depending on the region, and with the necessary equipment to deal with automotive issues (spare tire, jumper cables, extra gas), as gas stations in rural zones are few and far between. A stock of food and water as well as a dependable means of communication are also imperative.
It is important to vary daily itineraries and schedules and to let a trusted individual know of all trips ahead of time.
Public transit in all forms should be avoided due to the poor condition of vehicles and the sometimes dangerous driving habits of conductors. A system of private long-distance buses connect the country's cities.
All domestic flights are operated by Sudanese airlines, all of which appear on the European Union's "black list" of airlines banned from operating in EU airspace. Sudanese airlines should be avoided altogether as accidents are possible. An international Sudan Airways flight crashed on June 10, 2008, while attempting to land at Khartoum's airport (30 dead out of 214 people onboard). A flight operated by the Sudanese Tarco Airlines also crashed while attempting to land, this time in Zalingei, on November 11, 2010 (six dead).
A rail system exists, notably linking Khartoum and Port Sudan, but security and comfort are poor.
Fuel shortages, power outages, and disruptions to the water supply are common in the capital.
Furthermore, the majority of the country's infrastructure is in poor condition due to a lack of maintenance. Telecommunication infrastructure is particularly poor.
Sudan’s climate varies by region. The north and northwest (Libyan Desert) is arid and rain is rare; sandstorms are common from April to September. The central region receives some rainfall in July and August; the south experiences a rainy season lasting from May until October. Summers are very hot, even scorching, throughout the country; winters are cooler in the north.
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