War and Drought in Sudan: Essays on Population Displacement

War and Drought in Sudan: Essays on Population Displacement

War and Drought in Sudan: Essays on Population Displacement

War and Drought in Sudan: Essays on Population Displacement

Synopsis

The plight of Sudan, where great numbers of people live and work under the chronic threats of famine, civil war and sickness, is a matter of humanitarian concern. Here, Sudanese scholars examine one aspect of these issues - the population displacement problem that affects one third of the nation.

Excerpt

Sudan is the largest country in Africa, with a total area of one million square miles and a population estimated at 24.9 million in 1993. The country is endowed with rich natural resources that include abundant arable land, water, mineral resources, and oil.

Nevertheless, despite Sudan's enormous potential, the Sudanese people have been plagued by poverty and, since the early 1980s, by persistent famine. The Sudanese economy has deteriorated steadily since the late 1970s, manifested by the fact that per capita income has declined from $430 in 1980 to $300 in 1990. The country's foreign debt has soared from $308 million in 1970 to an estimated $12 billion (including principal, interest, and arrears) in the late 1980s. The ratio of outstanding debt to the gross national product (GNP) increased from 19.6 percent in 1973 to 130.4 percent in 1984 and to 162.6 percent by the end of 1987. Inflation showed a greater increase in 1988-89 than ever before. In December 1988 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated a rate of inflation of 80 percent, twice the average rate of 1987-88. Inflation reached 100 percent by the end of 1989 and has increased steadily ever since.

The deterioration in the economic conditions of the country has been exacerbated by the severe drought conditions during most of the 1980s and early 1990s. The regions hardest hit by the drought and desertification fall mainly between 12 and 18 degrees north, an area of 650,000 square kilometers that constitutes 25 percent of the total area of Sudan. The region affected by the drought produces 90 per-

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