Sudan , also known as North Sudan and officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in northeastern Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea, Eritrea, and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. It is the third largest country in Africa. The River Niledivides the country into eastern and western halves. Its predominant religion is Islam.
Sudan was home to numerous ancient civilizations, such as the Kingdom of Kush, Kerma, Nobatia, Alodia, Makuria, Meroë and others, most of which flourished along the Nile. During the pre-dynastic period Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were identical, simultaneously evolved systems of pharaonic kingship by 3300 BC. By virtue of its proximity to Egypt, the Sudan participated in the wider history of the Near East inasmuch as it was Christianized by the 6th century, and Islamized in the 15th.
As a result of Christianization, the Old Nubian language stands as the oldest recorded Nilo-Saharan language (earliest records dating to the 9th century). Sudan was the largest country in Africa and the Arab world until 2011, when South Sudanseparated into an independent country, following an independence referendum. Sudan is now the third largest country in Africa (after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and also the third largest country in the Arab world (after Algeria and Saudi Arabia).
Sudan is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as an observer in the World Trade Organization. Its capital is Khartoum, the political, cultural and commercial centre of the nation. It is a presidential representative democraticfederal republic. The politics of Sudan is regulated by a parliamentary organization called the National Assembly. The Sudanese legal systemis based on Islamic law.
Sudan is as geographically diverse as it is culturally; in the north, the Nile cuts through the eastern edge of the Sahara: the Nubian desert, the site of the Ancient Kingdoms of Cush and Meroe, and the land of the Seti. Here, some modest farming and husbandry supplements the staple crop of date palms. The East and West are mountainous regions, and much of the rest of the country comprises savannahs typical of much of central sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority of its population are Sunni Muslims and proselytization of non-Sunni beliefs is not allowed.
The amount of rainfall increases towards the south. The central and the northern part have extremely dry desert areas such as the Nubian Desert to the northeast and the Bayuda Desert to the east; in the south there are swamps and rainforest. Sudan's rainy season lasts for about three months (July to September) in the north, and up to six months (June to November) in the south.
The dry regions are plagued by sandstorms, known as haboob, which can completely block out the sun. In the northern and western semi-desert areas, people rely on the scant rainfall for basic agriculture and many are nomadic, travelling with their herds of sheep and camels. Nearer the River Nile, there are well-irrigated farms growing cash crops. The sunshine duration is very high all over the country but especially in deserts where it could soar to over 4,000 h per year.
In Sudan's 2008 census, the population of Northern, Western and Eastern Sudan was recorded to be over 30 million. This puts present estimates of the population of Sudan after the secession of South Sudan at a little over 30 million people. This is a significant increase over the past two decades as the 1983 census put the total population of Sudan, including present-day South Sudan, at 21.6 million. The population of Greater Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and was recorded to be 5.2 million.
Despite being a refugee-generating country, Sudan also hosts a refugee population. According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers lived in Sudan in 2007. The majority of this population came from Eritrea(240,400 persons), Chad (45,000), Ethiopia (49,300) and the Central African Republic(2,500). The Sudanese government UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2007 forcibly deported at least 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers during the year. Sudan is a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
The Arab presence is estimated at 70% of the Sudanese population.Others include the Arabized ethnic groups of Nubians, Zaghawa, and Copts.
Sudan has 597 groups that speak over 400 different languages and dialects. Sudanese Arabs are by far the largest ethnic group in Sudan. They are almost entirely Muslims; while the majority speak Sudanese Arabic, some other Arab tribes speak different Arabic dialects like Awadia and Fadnia tribes and Bani Arak tribes who speak Najdi Arabic; and Rufa'a, Bani Hassan, Al-Ashraf, Kinanah and Rashaida who speak Hejazi Arabic. In addition, the Western province comprises various ethnic groups, while a few Arab Bedouin of the northern Rizeigat and others who speak Sudanese Arabic share the same culture and backgrounds of the Sudanese Arabs.
The majority of Arabized and indigenous tribes like the Fur, Zaghawa, Borgo, Masalitand some Baggara ethnic groups, who speak Chadian Arabic, show less cultural integration because of cultural, linguistic and genealogical variations with other Arab and Arabized tribes.
Sudanese Arabs of Northern and Eastern parts descend primarily from migrants from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with the pre-existing indigenous populations of Sudan, especially the Nubian people, who also share a common history with Egypt. Additionally, a few pre-Islamic Arabian tribes existed in Sudan from earlier migrations into the region from Western Arabia, although most Arabs in Sudan are dated from migrations after the 12th century.
The vast majority of Arab tribes in Sudan migrated into the Sudan in the 12th century, intermarried with the indigenous Nubian and other African populations and introduced Islam.
In common with much of the rest of the Arab world, the gradual process of Arabizationin Sudan following these Arabian migrations after the 12th century led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was furthered both by the spread of Islam and an emigration to Sudan of ethnic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, and their intermarriage with the Arabized indigenous peoples of the country.
Sudan consists of numerous other non-Arabic groups, such as the Masalit, Zaghawa, Fulani, Northern Nubians, Nuba, and the Beja people.
At the 2011 division which split off South Sudan, over 97% of the population in the remaining Sudan adheres to Islam. Most Muslims are divided between two groups: Sufi and Salafi (Ansar Al Sunnah) Muslims. Two popular divisions of Sufism, the Ansar and the Khatmia, are associated with the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist parties, respectively. Only the Darfur region has traditionally been bereft of the Sufi brotherhoods common in the rest of the country.
Significant, long-established groups of Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christians exist in Khartoum and other northern cities. Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox communities also exist in Khartoum and eastern Sudan, largely made up of refugees and migrants from the past few decades. The largest groups affiliated with Western Christian denominations are Roman Catholic and Anglican. Other Christian groups with smaller followings in the country include the Africa Inland Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Sudan Church of Christ, the Sudan Interior Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (in the North).
Religious identity plays a role in the country's political divisions. Northern and western Muslims have dominated the country's political and economic system since independence. The NCP draws much of its support from Islamists, Salafis/Wahhabisand other conservative Arab Muslims in the north. The Umma Party has traditionally attracted Arab followers of the Ansar sect of Sufism as well as non-Arab Muslims from Darfur and Kordofan. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) includes both Arab and non-Arab Muslims in the north and east, especially those in the Khatmia Sufi sect.
In 2010, Sudan was considered the 17th-fastest-growing economy in the world and the rapid development of the country largely from oil profits even when facing international sanctions was noted by The New York Times in a 2006 article. Because of the secession of South Sudan, which contained over 80 percent of Sudan's oilfields, Sudan entered a phase of Stagflation, GDP growth slowed to 3.4 percent in 2014, 3.1 percent in 2015 and is projected to recover slowly to 3.7 percent in 2016 while inflation remained as high as 21.8% as of 2015.
Even with the oil profits before the secession of South Sudan, Sudan still faced formidable economic problems, and its growth was still a rise from a very low level of per capita output. The economy of Sudan has been steadily growing over the 2000s, and according to a World Bank report the overall growth in GDP in 2010 was 5.2 percent compared to 2009 growth of 4.2 percent. This growth was sustained even during the war in Darfur and period of southern autonomy preceding South Sudan's independence.
Oil was Sudan's main export, with production increasing dramatically during the late 2000s, in the years before South Sudan gained independence in July 2011. With rising oil revenues, the Sudanese economy was booming, with a growth rate of about nine percent in 2007. The independence of oil-rich South Sudan, however, placed most major oilfields out of the Sudanese government's direct control and oil production in Sudan fell from around 450,000 barrels per day (72,000 m3/d) to under 60,000 barrels per day (9,500 m3/d). Production has since recovered to hover around 250,000 barrels per day (40,000 m3/d)) for 2014-15.
In order to export oil, South Sudan relies on a pipeline to Port Sudan on Sudan's Red Sea coast, as South Sudan is a landlocked country, as well as the oil refining facilities in Sudan. In August 2012, Sudan and South Sudan agreed a deal to transport South Sudanese oil through Sudanese pipelines to Port Sudan.
The People's Republic of China is one of Sudan's major trading partners, China owns a 40 percent share in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. The country also sells Sudan small arms, which have been used in military operations such as the conflicts in Darfur and South Kordofan.
While historically agriculture remains the main source of income and employment hiring of over 80 percent of Sudanese, and makes up a third of the economic sector, oil production drove most of Sudan's post-2000 growth. Currently, the International Monetary Fund IMF is working hand in hand with Khartoum government to implement sound macroeconomic policies. This follows a turbulent period in the 1980s when debt-ridden Sudan's relations with the IMF and World Bank soured, culminating in its eventual suspension from the IMF. The program has been in place since the early 1990s, and also work-out exchange rate and reserve of foreign exchange. Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing the macroeconomic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund.
Agricultural production remains Sudan's most-important sector, employing 80 percent of the workforce and contributing 39 percent of GDP, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Instability, adverse weather and weak world-agricultural prices ensures that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.
The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large construction project in Northern Sudan, about 350 kilometres (220 mi) north of the capital, Khartoum. It is situated on the River Nile, close to the Fourth Cataractwhere the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between. Merowe is a city about 40 kilometres (25 mi) downstream from the dam's construction site.
The main purpose of the dam will be the generation of electricity. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa. The construction of the dam was finished December 2008, supplying more than 90 percent of the population with electricity. Other gas-powered generating stations are operational in Khartoum State and other States.
According to the Corruptions Perception Index, Sudan is one of the most corrupt nations in the world.According to the Global Hunger Index of 2013, Sudan has an GHI indicator value of 27.0 indicating that the nation has an 'Alarming Hunger Situation' and earning the nation the distinction of being the 5th hungriest nation in the world. According to the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI) Sudan ranked the 167st place in Human Development, indicating Sudan still has one of the lowest human development in the world.Almost one-fifth of Sudan's population lives below the international poverty line which means living on less than US$1.25 per day.