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Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan
Source: Energy Information Administration

Sudan and South Sudan, both located in northeastern Africa, became independent countries in July 2011, following a referendum in South Sudan where the people overwhelmingly voted for independence. Prior to the split, the unified Sudan was the second-largest oil producer in Africa in 2010, outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Since the split, Sudan and South Sudan’s production has declined, and together they ranked as the fourth-largest non-OPEC African oil producer in 2013. Disagreements over oil revenue sharing and armed conflict have curtailed oil production from both countries over the past few years.

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FACTBOX — Women’s rights in the Arab world

November 23, 2013 Comments off

FACTBOX — Women’s rights in the Arab world
Source: Thompson Reuters

Egypt is the worst country for women in the Arab world, closely followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, according to gender experts surveyed in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll released on Tuesday.

Comoros, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar came top of the survey, which assessed 22 Arab states on violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.

The results were drawn from answers from 336 gender experts invited to participate in an online survey by the foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news and information company Thomson Reuters, in August and September.

+ Complete poll results

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan

September 6, 2013 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan
Source: Energy Information Administration

The unified Sudan has been producing oil since the 1990s. Most of the producing assets are near or extend across the de facto border between Sudan and South Sudan. When South Sudan became independent in July 2011, it gained control over most of the oil production. But South Sudan is landlocked and remains dependent on Sudan because it must use Sudan’s export pipelines and processing facilities.

In January 2012, South Sudan voluntarily shut in all of its oil production because of a dispute with Sudan over oil transit fees. Following South Sudan’s secession, Sudan requested transit fees of $32-36/barrel (bbl) in an attempt to make up for the oil revenue loss, while South Sudan offered a transit fee of less than $1/bbl. Tensions escalated at the end of 2011 when Sudan began to confiscate a portion of South Sudan’s oil as a payment for unpaid transit fees, and shortly after, South Sudan shut down production. After nearly 15 months of intermittent negotiations, South Sudan restarted oil production in April 2013. Despite the progress that has been made to reconcile differences, several unresolved issues remain and production may be curtailed again in the future.

Oil plays a vital role in the economies of both countries. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), oil represented around 57 percent of Sudan’s total government revenue and around 78 percent of export earnings in 2011, while it represented around 98 percent of total government revenues for South Sudan in 2011. The IMF projected that Sudan’s oil earnings substantially declined following the South’s secession. According to IMF estimates, oil accounted for 32 percent of total export earnings and 30 percent of Sudan’s total government revenue in 2012.

CRS — Sudan and South Sudan: Current Issues for Congress and U.S. Policy

November 5, 2012 Comments off

Sudan and South Sudan: Current Issues for Congress and U.S. Policy (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has played an active role in U.S. policy toward Sudan for more than three decades. Efforts to support an end to the country’s myriad conflicts and human rights abuses have dominated the agenda, as have counterterrorism concerns. When unified (1956-2011), Sudan was Africa’s largest nation, bordering nine countries and stretching from the northern borders of Kenya and Uganda to the southern borders of Egypt and Libya. Strategically located along the Nile River and the Red Sea, Sudan was historically described as a crossroads between the Arab world and Africa. Domestic and international efforts to unite its ethnically, racially, religiously, and culturally diverse population under a common national identity fell short, however. In 2011, after decades of civil war and a 6.5 year transitional period, Sudan split in two. Mistrust between the two Sudans—Sudan and South Sudan—lingers, and unresolved disputes and related security issues still threaten to pull the two countries back to war.

The north-south split did not resolve other simmering conflicts, notably in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan. Roughly 2.5 million people remain displaced as a result of these conflicts. Like the broader sub-region, the Sudans are susceptible to drought and food insecurity, despite significant agricultural potential in some areas. Civilians in the conflict zones are particularly vulnerable. Instability and Sudanese government restrictions have limited relief agencies’ access to conflict-affected populations. Humanitarian conditions in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have been at crisis levels for months, but an estimated half a million people remain largely beyond the reach of aid groups. Logistical challenges constrain the delivery of relief for those who have fled, primarily to remote refugee camps across the border in South Sudan. The harassment of aid workers is a problem in both Sudans, further hindering aid responses.

The peaceful separation of Sudan and South Sudan was seen by some players as an opportunity to repair relations between Sudan’s Islamist government and the United States. Those ties have long been strained over Khartoum’s human rights violations and history of support for international terrorist groups. Among the arguments in favor of normalizing relations with Sudan has been the notion that the United States has few additional unilateral “sticks” to apply against Khartoum, given robust sanctions already in place. Applying certain “carrots,” such as easing sanctions, might encourage further political reforms, proponents say. The Obama Administration sought to improve the relationship with Khartoum in 2011, given South Sudan’s successful referendum and separation from Sudan, and Sudan’s cooperation on counterterrorism. The U.S. effort has been impeded by ongoing reports of abuses, including allegations that Khartoum continues to commit war crimes against civilians. Some observers argue that improving the relationship would reward bad behavior. Relations are also complicated by the fact that several government officials, notably President Omar al Bashir, have been accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide at the International Criminal Court in relation to the Darfur conflict.

U.S. relations with South Sudan, which are rooted in years of American activism and disaster relief to the south during the civil war, remain close, though there have been signs of strain in 2012. The United States is the country’s largest bilateral donor, but the Administration has expressed concern over certain actions taken by leaders in Juba that have, in its view, further aggravated the relationship between the Sudans and the economic situation in both countries.

This report examines the shared interests and outstanding disputes between the Sudans after separation, and gives an overview of political, economic, and humanitarian conditions in the two countries, with a focus on possible implications for U.S. policy and congressional engagement.

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan

March 21, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan and South Sudan
Source: Energy Information Administration

South Sudan shut in its oil production just six months after gaining independence, as a result of an ongoing dispute with Sudan over transit fees and other post-independence issues.

Economics of the Arab awakening

February 22, 2012 Comments off
Source:  International Food Policy Research Institute
Few observers would have predicted the dramatic changes over the past few months in the Arab world. Arab governments appeared to be in tight control, and many Arab economies were growing around or above the world average over the past few years. Annual growth rates in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Sudan averaged more than 6 percent between 2005 and 2010; and Syria, Tunisia, and Libya grew at about 5 percent on average during the same period of time. Official poverty rates in most Arab countries are lower than in many Asian and Latin American countries.
However, experts have long identified slow progress in economic diversification and job creation, social inequalities, and persistent food insecurity as major development challenges for Arab countries. Did these factors and, more broadly, people’s dissatisfaction with their living standards contribute to the recent uprisings? At first glance, the sudden turn of events and the generally low coverage, quality, and accessibility of data in the Arab world make it difficult to find answers to this question. By looking beyond more conventional data, however, this policy brief provides some insights into the potential role of economics in the ongoing uprisings. It also reviews major policy responses of Arab governments and provides a new narrative of Arab development that is based on inclusive economic transformation, food security, and decisionmaking.
Full Paper (PDF)

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan

October 2, 2011 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Sudan
Source: Energy Information Administration

Sudan has been involved in several conflicts since its independence in 1956 that have impacted the country’s economic development, particularly its natural resources. The most recent conflict, Darfur (2003-2010), brought with it international condemnation, internally displaced populations, and sanctions affecting the country as a whole. The conflict has prevented oil exploration in the Darfur region, and the sanctions have prevented some international investment. The fighting itself has led to considerable infrastructure damage further limiting development.

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