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SUDAN ECONOMY- A Land of Burgeoning Potential

On top of vast oil wealth and sanctions-defying 8 per cent growth 40 million cattle, 50 million sheep, 40 million goats, and 4 million camelsThe Sudan is an enigmatic country in more respects than one. Africa’s largest nation, the country stretches the whole of 2.5 million square kilometres with one of the continent’s widest and richest variety of resources — human and natural, economic and social — within its borders.Perhaps because of its vastness, Sudan sits at the crossroads of Africa. To understand the pivotal location of Sudan, one needs to consider her nine neighbours — Egypt and Libya to the north provide the link to Arabia, Mediterranean North Africa, Chad and the Central Africa Republic to the west, and the southwest brings in the African hinterland connection of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya, making the country very much part of the Great Lakes and eastern Africa region; Ethiopia and Eritrea to the east are reason enough for Sudan to be considered a Horn of Africa country while Saudi Arabia, across the Red Sea (in addition to Egypt and Libya) justifies consideration as a veritable Middle East nation.What’s more, the country not only straddles the River Nile but its two main tributaries — the Blue and White Nile meet in Khartoum, the capital city.Despite the instability witnessed in the past, the country’s economic growth has been averaging 8 per cent in the past decade, the main source of its economic prosperity being the vast oil resources. This economic growth, as the Minister for Information, Dr Kamal Mohammed, says, “is proof of the resilience of the economy against Western sanctions”.Indeed, revenues from oil exploration and exploitation explain the economic growth despite economic sanctions by the West. Intriguingly, Sudan only attained self-sufficiency in oil recently before commencing export. This was after the completion of a pipeline stretching from the oil fields and refineries to Port Sudan in 1999. It is anticipated that with largely untapped oil fields, Sudan will in future become a major oil exporter, perhaps the most important oil producer in Africa.Further to the oil revenues, Sudan is emerging as a key player in the petrochemicals sector as refineries are set up. It is predicted that Sudan will account for about 4 per cent of Africa’s oil by 2014.In 2008, the country attracted US$20 billion of direct and indirect investments mainly from her Arabic

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