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Country Reports

Sudan Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Newly appointed Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok announced the composition of his new interim government on 5 September – the first since Omar al-Bashir was ousted as president in April 2019. This follows a power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition after long-running protests demanding a civilian-led government.The formation of the government reduces the likelihood of nationwide anti-government sit-in protests and strikes disrupting public services, utilities, and ground cargo movements and transport services. Key grievances are likely to remain, however, including over corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.The TMC assuming the first rotation for 21 months increases the likelihood of its dominance during the transition. Disagreements with the civilian members of the government are likely, especially regarding economic reforms, such as of the banking system, which Hamdok will likely encourage. The appointment of a new government increases Sudan's prospects of economic recovery, primarily by permitting eventual access to concessional financing and debt relief, in the likely event that the US removes Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. In the meantime, Sudan will likely continue relying on aid from Gulf allies, primarily Saudi Arabia.Sudan's growth outlook remains weak, estimated at 2.0% for 2018 and projected at 2.2% in 2019, given economic austerity measures and growing political instability domestically and in neighbouring South Sudan, the country from which Sudan’s vital oil exports emanate. Official consumer price inflation – which is likely to underestimate actual inflation – is expected to average around 50% in 2019, declining from 63% in 2018 due simply to base effects. The official exchange rate was devalued in 2018 in October, to SDG47:USD1 from SDG18; the black-market exchange rate is significantly higher, reportedly around SDG70 in mid-March 2019, indicating market expectation of further devaluation.
Last update: September 13, 2019

Operational Outlook

Sudan's economy is largely controlled by the military and security services. Non-competitive direct tendering is common and favours political allies. The appointment of a largely civilian government reduces the likelihood of asset stripping during privatisation drives to encourage non-oil diversification, by selling off high-value assets to increase their net worth. This tactic has been prevalent in real estate. Power-sharing between the military and the opposition coalition reduces the likelihood of cross-sector action by the protest-leading Sudanese Professionals Association, but localised strikes likely to persist until macroeconomic indicators improve.

Last update: September 24, 2019

Terrorism

High

The power-sharing deal signed in August 2019 between the military and the opposition coalition increases the likelihood of successful peace negotiations between the incoming government and Sudanese armed groups. This significantly reduces the likelihood of attacks targeting government buildings and security forces, especially in conflict areas of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan. These groups are unlikely to resume attacks given that it would jeopardise their prospects of participation and representation during the transition period. Regardless of any renewed intent to stage attacks, armed groups have limited capability to do so, including a limited arsenal of small-arms, especially attacks against energy assets, which are usually protected by government armed forces.

Last update: September 28, 2019

Crime

Organised criminal networks operate in Darfur region and pose risks of extortion and theft to commercial land cargo and non-governmental organisations, and to a lesser extent, in the Eastern region of Sudan. Makeshift illegal checkpoints are common throughout the region and vehicles are likely to face extortion. Chadian organised crime groups affiliated to elements of the disbanded Union of Forces for Democracy and Development are targeting cargo transiting the Sudanese stretch of the A5 highway from Abéché in Chad to Al-Junaynah, Sudan, a strategic supply corridor. The trafficking of goods and people regularly occurs along the Sudanese-Eritrean border, typically being facilitated by members of the ethnic-Rashaida. The incoming government is likely to seek to improve transparency on financial crimes, although we expect investigations to target only a few figures close to former president Bashir. This would, nonetheless, improve Sudan's prospects of being removed from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in the one-year outlook.

Last update: September 25, 2019

War Risks

Prior to Omar al-Bashir's overthrow as president in April 2019, Egypt was threatened by Sudan's engagement with Turkey and Ethiopia, and due to stalling negotiations over Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. However, the leader of the Transitional Military Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, is a strong ally of Egypt, reducing this conflict risk. 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.

Last update: September 26, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

The power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council and the opposition coalition reduces the likelihood of large-scale protests in Khartoum and Sudan’s other major cities such as Atbara and Port Sudan. The protest-leading Sudan Professionals Association (SPA), which organised mass protests and strikes, accepted the prime minister’s nominations, decreasing the likelihood of protests and cross-sector strikes. Smaller protests are, however, likely surrounding corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency, as well as localised and largely peaceful protests are very likely to reoccur in provincial cities, over high food prices and fuel shortages. This is especially as Hamedti will likely seek to safeguard his and the Al-Bashir old guard's vested interests.

Last update: September 26, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

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.

Routine Vaccinations

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.

Other Vaccinations

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

High

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +249
Police: 999
Fire Dept.: 999
Ambulance: 999

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019