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Info Africa - SUDAN

Sudan is in Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea and nine other countries. These countries include Egypt, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Sudan, the largest country of the African continent, gained independence from Egypt and Britain in 1956. The name Sudan is from the Arabic “bilad al-sudan,” which means land of the blacks. Arabic is the official language in Sudan and Islam is the state religion. However, Sudan also has a large non-Arabic speaking and non-Muslim population, mostly in the southern region. Sudan has been experiencing social and political unrest, leading to a civil war that began in 1973, and another civil war that is on going. These problems are an outcome of the Muslim-led government in Khartoum (the capital city) continuously imposing the Islamic Sharia law on the country as a whole. As the government and southern rebels came closer to peace, fighting broke out in Darfur in early 2003. The civil war in Sudan is a clear result of the friction between the largely Christian south and the ruling Muslims in the north. Sudan’s capital city is Khartoum. It is located at the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Kharoum is home to the Omdurman camel market and the Arab souks (markets). The National Museum in Khartoum contains archaeological artifacts from 4000 BC and earlier. In fact, Sudan’s main areas of archeological interest are found beside the Nile and to the north of Khartoum. These include Bajrawiya, Naga, Meroe and Barbar. The Dinder National Park, located southeast of Khartoum, is considered one of the largest parks in the world. The different kinds of species found here include lions, leopards and antelopes. Tourists enjoy visiting the Red Sea, where one enjoys the different fish species, the coral reefs as well as the marine gardens. Sudan’s most fertile land is between the Blue and White Niles. The southern region of Sudan has an equatorial forest and a few mountains, including Mount Kinyeti. Many parts of the North have parts of the Libyan and Nubian deserts, which are known to extend southwards, near Khartoum. Sudan has a rich culture and is home to over 600 tribes.

Click here to view the Expedition Route and see which parts of Sudan the team will be visiting!

CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag:

Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side

Nationality: Sudanese

Capital: Khartoum

Population: 41,236,378 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 42.7% (male 8,993,483/female 8,614,022)
  • 15-64 years: 54.9% (male 11,327,679/female 11,297,798)
  • 65 years and over: 2.4% (male 536,754/female 466,642) (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.55% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 61.1% (2003 est.) of the population is literate (male: 71.8% , female: 50.5%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)

Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English

note: program of "Arabization" in process

Quick Facts
  • total: 2,505,810 sq km
  • land: 2.376 million sq km
  • water: 129,810 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: double the size of Ontario

Natural resources: petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower

Environmental Issues:inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought


Sudan faces certain economic problems such as its low level of per capita output. Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing IMF macroeconomic reform policies. Sudan began exporting crude oil in 1999. In the last quarter of 1999, it recorded its first trade surplus, which has contributed to stabilizing the exchange rate. Increased oil production, revived light industry and the export processing zones helped sustain GDP growth at 8.6% in 2004. Agricultural production is Sudan’s most important economic sector, employing 80% of the workforce. It contributes 39% of GDP and accounts for most GDP growth. Sudan’s instability, as a result of the long civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian/pagan south, continues to harm Sudan’s population. Much of Sudan’s population will remain at or below the poverty line because of adverse weather, weak world agricultural prices and the civil war.

Major industries:

  • oil
  • cotton ginning
  • textiles
  • cement
  • edible oils
  • sugar
  • soap distilling
  • shoes
  • petroleum refining
  • pharmaceuticals
  • armaments
  • automobile/light truck assembly

Agricultural products:

  • cotton
  • groundnuts (peanuts)
  • sorghum
  • millet
  • wheat
  • gum arabic
  • sugarcane
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • mangos
  • papaya
  • bananas
  • sweet potatoes
  • sesame
  • sheep
  • livestock

Oil production: 401,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways:5,995 km

Road map: 11,900 km (paved: 4,320 km , unpaved: 7,580 km) (1999)

Currency: Sudanese dinar (SDD)


Telephone lines in use: 1,028,900 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 1,048,600 (2004)

Television Stations: 3 (1997)

Radio Stations: AM 12, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)

Internet users: 1.14 million (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 2.3% (2001 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 400,000 (2001 est.)

More Information

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