Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is an independent republic which lies to the south of Egypt and forms part of the North East African Region. The capital city is Khartoum. Other major cities are Juba and Omdurman and Port Sudan.

The official language is Arabic but over 100 other languages are spoken. English is spoken in business and government circles. The local currency is the Sudanese dinar. (US$ / Sud D – current exchange rate).

Sudan faces problems due to civil war, political instability, adverse weather conditions, hyperinflation, dropped remittances and unproductive economic policies. Sudan has a large amount of foreign debt, slow payment of which has led to threats from the IMF to expel Sudan from the Fund.

The Sudan oil industry is a key sector in the economy of the country. In particular the upstream oil industry is a major source of foreign exchange. The country has an oil refinery at Port Sudan. Private investment in the oil sector will hopefully reduce import costs and increase foreign exchange for development financing. The mining industry in Sudan is still underdeveloped although the country is known to be rich in precious minerals, copper, zinc and iron.

The agricultural sector employs the majority of the work force and produce is processed by the manufacturing industry. Poor performance has been due to declining annual rainfall. Sudan has freshwater and marine-fishing potential that is not fully exploited. In the south natural forest cover still exists despite a rapid decrease in other parts of the country.

The international time zone for Sudan is GMT +2 and the international dialling code is +249. The international airport at Khartoum is served by 16 airlines, most of them Middle Eastern. Sudan Airways operates both internationally and domestically. Sudan has extensive transport facilities that are, however, inadequate due to the size of the country. All visitors, except nationals of Egypt and Tanzania, require visas in order to visit Sudan.

The state of health, the current immunisation status, location and the local disease situation lead to the risk of contraction of hepatitis A, malaria (regional), schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever in Sudan. A risk assessment is recommended. Vaccinations and insurance should be arranged prior to arrival in the country.

Shaun Bakamoso

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