Political tensions and conflicts, threat of economic collapse and huge humanitarian challenges. Sudan is paying dearly after independence of South Sudan.

Bilateral assistance to Sudan 2011: million kroner

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Bilateral assistance to Sudan 2011: million kroner

Laster data...

Bilateral assistance to Sudan 2011: million kroner

Laster data...

Sudan is a poor country marked by social conflict, civil war and not least severance of South Sudan on 9 July 2011.

When South Sudan became independent, Sudan found itself in a totally new situation: overnight the country lost 75 per cent of the oil reserves, a third of the territory and a fourth of the population. Unresolved questions of division of oil resources, citizenship and conflict around border areas have since had major consequences for the country’s economy. An escalation of conflict in the winter and spring of 2012 has made the situation even worse and it is noticed in Sudan that their neighbour has chosen to stop oil production in the beginning of 2012.

The difficult financial situation has led to increased dissatisfaction and can form a basis for increased political mobilisation, as has been observed in several of Sudan’s neighbouring countries.

Fresh outbreaks of conflict in the states of South Kordofan and the Blue Niles have led to an unstable security situation, and many fear for Sudan’s stability and economic survival. Both issues have had major consequences for neighbouring countries in the region.

Tens of thousands have been forced to migrate in South Kordofan and the Blue Niles as a result of conflict and food shortage. Also in Darfur the conflict continues and over 70 000 human beings have been forced to migrate after new battles in 2011. All the conflicts as well as lack of income are causing the treasury to drain off. In order to support the idea of two survivable states in Sudan and South Sudan, Norway has taken initiative for an international participation conference on Sudan’s financial situation and future possibilities. This has received wide-spread support from The African Union (AU), The Arab League (LAS) and many donors. A date for the conference has not been fixed yet. A similar conference for South Sudan took place in Washington D.C. in December 2011

Good governance

Norway supported implementation of the referendum to decide the question of a united or divided Sudan by financing the technical facilitation, voter education and election supervision. The referendum and division of Sudan was completed in an organised and peaceful manner.


Through the aid programme Oil for Development (OfD), Norway is fully involved in negotiations, counselling and other measures related to management and building up of the oil industry in the country. Several Norwegian consultants are working on assignment from The African Union’s panel for Sudan and South Sudan. They have been asked to provide legal, financial and technical expertise in negotiations around new collaboration agreements after the partition of the country. In this context, the team contributed with preparing several drafts for oil agreements. The parties have not yet reached agreement.

During 2011 there was close dialogue between the Norwegian Embassy and the Petroleum Department in Khartoum for drawing up a new OfD Programme for Sudan. The new cooperation will be a continuation of the work with petroleum legislation, revision of operator contracts and new programmes in health, environment and security. Norway has received a lot of recognition for the work done in the oil sector.

The second phase of a project for increased oil extraction in Sudan was carried out by the Petroleum Department in Khartoum and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in Stavanger. Studies and analyses were undertaken for potential of increasing oil extraction from three oil fields. The results showed potential for increased extraction, provided the petroleum companies take concrete measures. The project will continue in 2012.


Norway supported the project Conflict Reduction Programme through the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) with six million NOK in 2011. The aim is to strengthen mechanisms for resolving conflicts that already exist in the state of South Kordofan. Local peace processes were planned, some were also completed, but the activities were put on hold when conflict between the authorities and Sudan Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) flared up. International workers for the UN organisations and aid organisations were denied access to the area. Through the organisation SOS-Sahel, Norway supports a local conflict preventing project in South Kordofan, which had been able to initiate measures for improving grazing grounds for cattle. Access to water and other natural resources is a constant source of conflict; through negotiations and dialogue farmers and nomads have come to an agreement of rotation systems for the use of water holes.


UNICEFs programme for girls and nomad children received six million NOK to work for millennium goals number two and three, that is, to ensure education for everyone and to strengthen women’s position. This work is particularly aimed at increased access to education, especially for girls and children from nomad families. An important part of the work has been to change people’s attitudes towards sending their children to school

- Mobile schools have been established. Teachers from nomad groups travel with the children.
- Syllabi and text books have been developed for the children.

The project has progressed slower than expected because it is difficult to change attitudes of the nomads towards education.

Similar types of projects are working in the state of the Blue Niles. Here efforts have been aimed at creating child-friendly school situations. This happens through renovation of class rooms and assistance for school materials.

Teachers have been trained to handle large classes as well as in teaching methods that give heed to the position of boys and girls in the society.

The number of girls in primary and lower secondary school in the Blue Niles has increased from 47 000 in 2007 to 56 000 in 2009.

”Micro-macro issues in peace building” is a programme for research and capacity building. Since 2006 the programme has engaged 12 master and six doctorate degree students in collaboration with the Norwegian Chr. Michelsens Institutt (CMI) and two universities in Khartoum. The research emphasizes the border situation between Sudan and South Sudan and problems related to implementation of the peace agreement.

In 2011 a researcher forum was established with participants from Sudan and South Sudan. The participants met twice.

The project ”Assisting regional universities in Sudan”(ARUS) is based upon a long-term cooperation between the University of Bergen and Ahfad University in Khartoum. The aim is to enhance research capacity in five regional universities in Sudan. In 2011 two seminars were held with representatives of researchers from regional universities together with the civil society and state authorities in East Sudan, the Blue Niles and South Kordofan. Researchers from these universities presented 15 different research projects. Six were completed in 2011.

Combating genital mutilation

It is difficult to change attitudes and practices when it comes to genital mutilation. The aim is to achieve a reduction by 15 per cent. At the end of 2011 UNICEF reported a five per cent reduction in Sudan. Norway supports UNICEF’s efforts for Sudan through the attitude campaign Saleema for abolishing genital mutilation.

For the time being the results are:

  • 500 local communities came together to collectively discard the practice of genital mutilation of girls and women
  • 75 local communities have also come out publicly and expressed their disagreement with the practice of genital mutilation
  • UNICEF has established collaboration with women’s organisations and religious leaders in order to remove the association of Islam with genital mutilation
  • So far South Kordofan has passed two different laws regarding genital mutilation. Thereby both the practice and actions aimed at encouraging to carry out the practice have been criminalised. Two cases have been brought to court so far.

The World Bank’s Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)

Since 2006 till now the World Bank’s MDTF has been an important instrument in ensuring money for development in Sudan (both North and South). Norway has given 269 million NOK and it is the third biggest donor to the fund. The conclusion date has been postponed due to little progress. Despite that, there have been some good results in 2011:

  • Under the sub-project for economic development 208 000 clients were given loans through 29 different micro-finance institutions.
  • 3610 public servants completed course in greater transparency and public economic management.
  • The programme for supporting primary and lower secondary education in four states has ensured that 150 000 students were enrolled in school.
  • 11 000 teachers have received further education.
  • Programme for rehabilitation of the transport system has upgraded 450 kilometres of railway track and 365 kilometres of road.
  • 53 local markets have gained electricity.

Humanitarian aid

Through the United Nation’s joint country fund Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), Norway has given money for emergency relief in several states.

A major part of the fund still goes to Darfur, where almost two million people are still living in camps for the internally displaced.

Work in South Kordofan and the Blue Niles was limited in 2011 as international organisations did not have access to these areas. It is also difficult in Darfur for the UN and other aid organisations to reach certain areas. The fund also ensured life-saving emergency help to several thousand migrants who crossed the border to South Sudan. Prompt response was possible largely because the fund had given money for strategic advance storage of emergency aid in several areas.

Aid to Sudan

Norway does not use Sudan’s own administration system for administering aid projects. Norwegian aid is basically given through multilateral organisations like the United Nations and the Word Bank, international organisations like the International Red Cross Committee or Norwegian institutions like the Norwegian Church Aid, University of Bergen and Statistics Norway.