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About Sudan

About Sudan
SUDAN GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING
   Sudan, a Republic in Northeast Africa, is the largest country in the continent. It is bounded in the north by Egypt; in the east by the Red Sea, Eritrea and Ethiopia; in the south by Kenya, Uganda and Zaire; and on the west by the Republic of Central Africa, Chad and Libya in the North-West. Sudan has a total area of 2,505,813 sq km (about 967, 495 sq miles). The capital city is Khartoum. Other major cities are Juba and Omdurman, Madani, Obaid, Fashir, Nyala and Port Sudan.The country’s estimated 1999 population equaled approximately 34.4 million. Sudan’s official language is Arabic, however, over 100 languages are spoken throughout the country. The local currency is SDG. The international time zone is GMT +3 and the international dialing code is +249. Â
A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
    Modern Sudanese history was influenced by Napoleon's victory in 1797, at the battle of the Pyramids which shook the power of the Mamelukes rulers of Egypt, and paved the way for the rise to power of the Albenian soldier Muhammad Ali Basha. Muhammad Ali sent his third son Ismail at the head of 10,000 men across the desert to annex Sudan and, by 1821, all of north and central Sudan was under his control. For the first time, the Sudan began to take shape as a political entity. Salvation was to come from the desert. A man called Muhammad Ahmad, was born in 1844. He soon retired to Aba Island, 150 miles south of Khartoum, to lead the life of a religious man, proclaiming himself in 1881 to be the Mahdi. The tribes of the west rallied to the Mahdi's call for a war against the colonizers. In 1884, the Mahdi conquered all parts of Sudan except Khartoum. The British, who meanwhile had moved into Egypt, resolved that the Sudan could not be held, and sent General Charles Gordon to evacuate Khartoum. After 317 days the Mahdi's followers overran the city's defenses. They razed Khartoum and killed The English Governor Gordon. Five months after the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi died of typhus; Khalifa Abdallah succeeded him. Hardly had he come to power when the Sudan was plunged in a series of civil wars. In September 1898 the Anglo-Egyptian force led by General Herbert Kitchener met the Khalifa's 60,000 warriors on an open plain outside Omdurman at a place called Karari. Khalifa's casualties comprised 10,800 killed and 16.000 wounded, and Kitchener entered Omdurman as a conqueror. On January 19, 1899 Britain and Egypt signed a condominium agreement under which the Sudan was to be administered jointly. Mounting Egyptian nationalism in the period after World War I culminated in 1924 in the assassination of Sir Lee Stack, Governor - General of the Sudan in the streets of Cairo; the British reaction resulted in the expulsion of all Egyptian officials from the Sudan. In 1936 a few Egyptians were allowed to return to the country in minor posts. But the signing of the 1936 agreement stimulated Sudanese nationalists who objected both to the return of the Egyptians and to the fact that other nations were deciding their destiny. Expression of this feeling was seen in the formation of the Graduates' Congress, under the leadership of Ismail al-Azhari.Â


End of the Condominium Rule
    On February 12, 1953, Britain and Egypt signed an accord ending the condominium rule and agreed to grant Sudan self-government within three years. The agreement also provided for a senate for the Sudan, a Council of Ministers, and a House of Representatives, elections which was to be supervised by an international commission. The elections that were held during November and December 1953 resulted in victory for the National Unionist Party (NUP), and its leader, Ismail al-Azhari, became the Sudan's first Prime Minister in January 1954. The replacement of British and Egyptian officers in the Sudanese civil service by Sudanese nationals followed rapidly. Â
The Independence
    On December 19, 1955, the Parliament voted unanimously that the Sudan should become "a fully independent sovereign state". Consequently, British and Egyptian troops left the country on January 1, 1956; the same day a five-man Council of State was appointed to take over the powers of the governor general until a new constitution was set up. Two years, later, on 17 November 1958 a bloodless army coup led by General Ibrahim Abboud toppled the Government of al-Azhari. On his assuming power, General Abboud declared that he would rule through a thirteen-member army junta and that democracy was being suspended in the Sudan in the name of "honesty and integrity". Abboud was toppled in a popular uprising in October 1964.In 1966, Sadig al-Mahdi, the 30-year-old president of the Umma party, took over as Prime Minister. Internally, the security situation in the southern Sudan continued to cause anxiety; successive Prime Ministers visited the South in April and October but neither threats nor blandishments succeeded in curbing the rebels. The Ministry for Southern Affairs sought to restore normal life to those parts of the southern provinces under government control, but there was little or no security in Equatoria Province. In May 1969 Colonel Numeiry came to power after a military coup de etat, and the armed forces launched a major offensive against the rebel camps there in October 1970. The war ended officially in March 1972, when Colonel Numeiry signed the Addis Ababa Peace Pact with  the Leader of the Anya-Nya rebels in the south. Numeiry ruled the country until 1985 when he was removed by a the April Popular Uprising. An elected civilian government led by Sadig El- Mahdi replaced him.   Again in 1988 and early 1989, following farther discontent in the country and within the military  Brig. Omar Hassan 'Ahmed El Bashir led the National Salvation Revolution  on June 30, 1989. He formed a 15 member Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation.
The Salvation Government underwent a lot of reforms to move from a military government to the election system. On 9th Jan 2005 the government singed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the SPLA to end Sudan's 21-year civil war. Now the country is ruled by a National Unity Government formed based on the Peace Agreement. An appointed legislative body was also formed according to that agreement.
ECONOMY:
   Sudan has considerable natural resources. Its economy was almost exclusively agricultural until the start of significant oil production in 1999.
Stable prices resulting from International Monetary Fund (IMF)-approved macroeconomic policies have led to a slowdown in currency depreciation and an improved fiscal balance. In 2004, Sudan 's real GDP grew 6.5% and is expected to grow 6.2% in 2005. Exports have increased sharply since the completion of a main oil export pipeline in 1999, although the country ran a current account deficit of $727 million in 2003. In an effort to increase its trade potential, Sudan has applied for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, with the conclusion of negotiations expected in 2008. Despite its economic progress, Sudan faces various developmental obstacles, including limited infrastructure and an external debt estimated in 2003 at $24 billion. Continued economic improvements are contingent on the country qualifying for massive debt relief.