columns

The Cost of War in Sudan Over six Months: April – October

Mohamed Abu sin
sinmohanna@gmail.com
Sudan Economic Indicator



Introduction:
The cost of war is an enduring and deeply significant concern, and in the context of Sudan, the toll it takes over a span of six months is a subject of paramount importance. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the economic, social, and humanitarian impacts of the conflict in Sudan, focusing on a six-month period. During this time, Sudan has witnessed a complex interplay of factors that have led to immense costs, both in terms of human lives and economic stability. The war in Sudan is characterized by its multifaceted nature, including armed conflicts, displacement, destruction of infrastructure, and the disruption of essential services. This conflict’s impact extends beyond immediate casualties, affecting every aspect of life in the region. As we delve into the detailed analysis of the cost of war over the last five months, we will explore the consequences on the economy, the social fabric of society, access to healthcare and education, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The human and financial burdens incurred during this time have been substantial, underscoring the urgent need for solutions that address the root causes of the conflict, support the affected population, and work towards lasting peace and stability. This examination will shed light on the challenges faced by Sudan and the critical importance of conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance in the face of such adversity.


Six Month Humanitarian crisis


As per the UNOCHA reports, Ongoing conflict in Sudan has led to a significant displacement of civilians, with approximately 5.5 million people forced to flee their homes since hostilities began in mid-April. Within Sudan, around 4.4 million individuals have been displaced to 4,403 locations across all 18 states, with the majority originating from Khartoum. Furthermore, approximately 1.1 million people have crossed into neighboring countries, including Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. The conflict has taken a severe toll, with reports from the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization indicating 1,265 fatalities, 8,396 injuries, and numerous casualties indirectly linked to the fighting. Disease outbreaks, including measles, malaria, dengue fever, and cholera, are rampant across the nation, affecting over 70% of health facilities in conflict-affected areas and limiting healthcare access for millions. Notably, some 245 primary schools, five secondary schools, and 25 educational facilities have been occupied by displaced individuals in Aj Jazirah State, affecting school attendance and logistical operations. The Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan has urgently called for humanitarian intervention and conflict resolution to address the tragic loss of life among displaced civilians caught in the crossfire.


The first 6 months: Contrasting Realities in Sudan and Ukraine


Sudan and Ukraine, both nations grappling with severe humanitarian crises, present distinct contrasts in the scale and nature of their challenges. The Sudanese crisis has taken on alarming proportions, with over 24 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance, surpassing the 17 million individuals facing similar challenges in Ukraine.
In Sudan, the situation is further compounded by the daily movement of roughly 30,000 people in search of aid, demanding complex negotiations with various armed factions for access to remote and affected areas. On the global stage, Ukraine’s conflict has garnered significant attention, primarily due to geopolitical rivalries. However, the crisis in Sudan remains one of the most overlooked and underreported in recent times.
The repercussions of the Sudanese crisis have been severe, leading to mass displacement and widespread disease outbreaks, which have disproportionately impacted women and children. This rapidly deteriorating situation has culminated in an astonishing millions individuals needing urgent humanitarian aid, with approximately half of the population requiring assistance, creating immense challenges for aid delivery in the midst of a conflict-ridden environment. In contrast, Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis, though substantial, has not reached the same scale or severity as Sudan’s. When analyzing the comparative data, significant differences emerge. While Sudan is currently confronting a larger crisis with a staggering 24.7 million people in need, Ukraine faces a slightly smaller challenge, with 17.7 million individuals requiring humanitarian assistance.
The disparities continue with internal displacement, where Sudan’s 4.4 million internally displaced persons contrast with Ukraine’s 6.6 million. Sudan also has a substantially lower number of refugees crossing its borders, at 1.1 million, in comparison to Ukraine’s 6.9 million. In total, Sudan has 5.5 million displaced individuals, significantly less than Ukraine’s 13.5 million. But if we consider the population of Khartoum states we can observe that this figure of 5.5 million is not realistic as the number will be more than this as the conflict taking place in the most inhabitant regions in Sudan (Khartoum, Darfour and Kordufan).
Sudan’s assistance target of 18.1 million people stands significantly higher than Ukraine’s goal of aiding 11.5 million. When examining funding, Ukraine has received a larger share of international aid, totaling $2.5 billion out of the required amount of $4.3 billion, while Sudan’s funding amounts to $0.8589 billion out of the required amount $2.6 billion . However, both countries face substantial funding gaps, with Ukraine managing to secure 57% of its required funding, while Sudan has only reached 33%. [1] [2]In light of these glaring disparities, the pressing need for increased global support for Sudan becomes evident. Sudan requires comprehensive humanitarian aid to effectively address their respective crises. As the world grapples with these distinct humanitarian challenges, the call for international solidarity and support has never been more critical.

Overview of the war effects on the Sudan’s Economy:

  1. GDP Reduction due to the war: The ongoing armed conflict between Sudanese army forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has wreaked havoc on Sudan’s economy, resulting in an estimated 20% loss of the country’s GDP [3]. Khartoum, the capital, has experienced extensive looting and destruction, including the burning of 17 factories across various sectors. Reports indicate over 36 warehouses, shops, banks, and markets were targeted, crippling vital economic infrastructure. The IMF’s GDP growth projections for the Horn of Africa reveal a stark contrast in Sudan’s economic outlook compared to other regional nations. Sudan is anticipated to face a severe economic contraction with a -18.3% GDP growth rate in 2023, marking a significant economic challenge. However, a slight positive growth of 0.3% is forecasted for 2024, offering a glimpse of potential recovery. These projections underscore the pressing economic challenges that Sudan is currently grappling with, and efforts to stabilize and revitalize the country’s economy are of paramount importance [4]. Sudan was already grappling with negative economic growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent conflict has delayed anticipated GDP recovery in 2023. The industrial sector, especially food, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing, suffered significant damage.
  2. 1.8 Million Pushed into Poverty as Economy Shrinks by about Half”:
    The ongoing conflict in Sudan, now spanning six months, has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, with over 1.8 million people pushed into poverty as household incomes decline by more than 40 percent in urban and rural areas. The economy is expected to contract to almost half its pre-war size, highlighting the devastating impact of the war on infrastructure, trade, and livelihoods. The urgency for swift intervention and a peaceful resolution is paramount, as the situation worsens the longer the conflict persists. [5]
  3. Sudan’s 3-Month Conflict Incurs $49 Billion in Losses, $100 Million Daily Drain : In the first three months, the conflict had devastating economic consequences, according to leading Sudanese economists. They estimate the economic loss, infrastructural damage, and looting to be around $49 billion. This war between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries has significantly impacted Sudan’s import and export businesses, foreign investments, and internal goods production. Widespread destruction of infrastructure, including water and power provision, and disruptions to health and education services have taken place. The economists suggest a daily loss of approximately $100 million, totaling $9 billion, and the theft of goods and property from the Sudanese people could exceed $40 billion. The conflict has led to mass displacement and further economic collapse. [6]
  4. Sudan’s Role in Global Supply Chains: Sudan’s position as a pivotal player in global supply chains cannot be underestimated. As the world’s largest exporter of essential commodities such as oil seeds (including groundnuts, sunflower, soybean, safflower, and sesame), the nation plays a critical role in supporting a variety of industries. Additionally, Sudan stands as Africa’s third-largest producer of gold, trailing only Ghana and South Africa, and it contributes significantly to the global gold supply. Over 80% of the world’s gum Arabic, a versatile commodity used in a wide range of products, including soft drinks, food additives, paint, cosmetics, and more, is produced in Sudan. This essential resource is in high demand, with around 50% of Sudan’s gum Arabic being sourced by European companies. Thus, Sudan’s exports are vital for international trade, and any disruptions could lead to supply chain uncertainties, increased costs, and potential production interruptions, affecting businesses and consumers worldwide. [7]
  5. Sudan’s Gold Industry and Foreign Trade in Dire Straits Amid Escalating Conflict: Sudan’s official gold industry, which has traditionally been the country’s primary revenue source, has completely disintegrated due to the escalating month-long conflict in the North African nation, as confirmed by Mubarak Ardol, the general director of the Sudanese Mineral Resources Limited Co. Exports have come to a standstill, processing equipment has suffered damage, and multiple gold companies’ headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, have been subject to looting [8]. The sector has sharply declined since the outbreak of conflicts in April, This drop is attributed to the increased production costs and various challenges, including a shortage of transportation fuel and essential mercury for gold extraction. In 2022, Sudan’s leading exports with $4.4 Billion included gold, amounting to approximately US$2.022 billion, followed by livestock at US$449 million, sesame with US$488 million, Cotton with USD$ 384, and groundnuts at US$351 million. These exports primarily found their markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Saudi Arabia, India, and Italy. On the other hand, Sudan’s imports in 2022 amounted to $11.1 billion, with the largest shares being $2.3 billion in petroleum products, $1.4 billion in manufactured goods, $1.3 billion in sugar and foodstuffs, $1.1 billion in wheat and wheat flour, and $1.1 billion in machinery and equipment. [9]
  6. Example of Infrastructure damages: Huge Fire Destroys $92 Million GNPOC Tower During Ongoing Conflict in Khartoum: Khartoum’s iconic Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) Tower, a striking 18-storey building in the city center, has been ravaged by flames during the country’s prolonged conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The cause of the fire and potential casualties remain unclear. This disaster, which has left one of Sudan’s tallest structures in ruins, has also affected other key landmarks in the Al Mugran district, including the Ministry of Justice and the Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organization. The GNPOC Tower was a significant project estimated to cost $92 million USD. [10]
  7. Destruction of Sudan’s Education System Threatens Economic Collapse: The education system in Sudan, including higher education, is in dire straits as a result of ongoing conflict. Since April, a total of 104 government and private higher education institutions, research centers, and the National Fund for Student Welfare have been damaged and vandalized due to the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This widespread destruction has disrupted academic and research activities, with the infrastructure of many colleges destroyed. The consequences of this loss are far-reaching, including the potential shortage of qualified skilled workers that could hamper economic development in Sudan. The disruption to education has been ongoing for several years, exacerbated by the Sudanese revolution, the COVID-19 outbreak, and current armed clashes. Students, faculty, and education leaders are all deeply concerned about the future and are seeking innovative solutions, such as online learning platforms and agreements with universities in neighboring countries like Egypt to accommodate Sudanese students. [11
    Conclusion
    The protracted war in Sudan has wrought extensive damage across multiple key sectors, including investment, education, healthcare, foreign trade, the airline industry, and agriculture. These sectors, which are fundamental to a nation’s socio-economic development, have been grievously affected by the conflict, undermining Sudan’s prospects for progress and growth. Investment, both domestic and foreign, has been deterred by the instability and insecurity, leaving the country’s economy stunted and bereft of vital capital infusion. The education system has been disrupted, impacting the future prospects of children and young people, who have been denied quality learning and skills development. The war has also taken a toll on hospitals and healthcare services, making it increasingly difficult for Sudanese citizens to access essential medical care, with healthcare professionals grappling with a strained and challenging environment. Moreover, the human cost is immeasurable, with many lives lost and skilled professionals emigrating to seek refuge from the conflict’s perils. This ongoing brain drain represents a significant loss, making the path to recovery even more arduous. Therefore, a concerted effort is essential not only to provide financial and infrastructural support for Sudan’s recovery but also to help rebuild its human capital, rekindling hope for a more stable, prosperous future. International assistance and cooperation are paramount in aiding Sudan’s transition from conflict to stability, benefiting not only its citizens but also the broader region and the global community as a whole.
    Works Cited
[1] UNOCHA, “Ukraine Sitauation report,” UN, 24, August, 2022.
[2] UNOCHA, “Sudan situation report,” UN, 07.10. 2023.
[3] F. Youssef, “Midle east,” 14 May 2023. [Online]. Available: https://english.aawsat.com/business/4326766-armed-conflict-destroys-20-sudan%E2%80%99s-gdp.
[4] IMF, “Global recovery remains slow, with growing regional divergences and little margin for policy error,” IMF, 2023.
[5] M. R. a. M. A. Khalid Siddig, “he Economy-wide Impact of Sudan’s Ongoing Conflict Implications on Economic Activity, Agrifood System and Poverty,” International Food Policy Research Institute, STRATEGY SUPPORT PROGRAM | WORKING PAPER 12 : 137054.
[6] N. a. website, 20 July 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.newarab.com/news/sudan-hit-49bn-economic-losses-war-began.
[7] W. E. Forum. [Online]. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/06/why-the-role-of-business-is-huge-in-the-sudan-war/.
[8] B. S. Marks, “Conflict Brings Sudan’s Official Gold Trade to a Halt,” May 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-17/conflict-brings-sudan-s-lucrative-official-gold-trade-to-a-halt#xj4y7vzkg.
[9] “The “Foreign Trade Statistical Digest” for January to December 2022, issue number 4/2022, is presented in volume 59.,” CBS, Khartoum, 2022.
[10] T. Consultancy. [Online]. Available: https://www.teknoconsultancy.com/projects/commercial/gnpoc-tower/.
[11] U. w. News, 21 August 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20230830182024830.

Back to top button