Political tension, extensive conflict in regions such as Darfur and South Kordofan, and major economic and humanitarian challenges affect Sudan.

Facts about Sudan

The flag for Sudan
Life expectancy
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GNI pr capita
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Percentage poor people (below 1.25$)
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The flag for Sudan

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

In 2014, Sudan was marked by continued armed internal conflicts, a worsened humanitarian situation, political oppression and instability. President Bashir’s initiative for a national dialogue and negotiations marked the year, but this has so far not shown any results. The election in April 2015 was criticized by Norway, the UK and the USA (the Troika), among others.

Sudan has extensive poverty and ranks at 166 out of 197 countries on the UN Human Development Index (2014). The aim of the humanitarian working plan is to reach 5.4 million of the most vulnerable Sudanese with humanitarian aid in 2015.

The UN system, voluntary organizations and donors struggle to achieve results in a difficult and often contradictory context. Negotiations between the authorities and the rebel group SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile have not resulted in any cease-fire or lasting peace agreement Fighting occurs regularly in these two areas. The humanitarian needs are great. International humanitarian actors do not have access to rebel-controlled areas.

The situation in Darfur remains filled with conflict. The situation in 2014 was marked by fighting between government troops and rebel groups, and the Rapid Support Forces hard actions against villages and the civilian population.

This fighting has lessened in 2015, but tribal conflicts and crime contribute to a continued unstable security situation in large parts of Darfur. There is a large and increasing number of internal refugees in Darfur.

Sudan has suffered major economic challenges after the country was divided in 2011 and lost a significant portion of its oil resources and revenues. Exports are limited.  Savings and belt tightening initiatives have been introduced, but without any real economic growth and investment, the challenges will endure.

The Nile

The world’s longest river, the Nile, runs through Sudan and is of decisive importance to the development of Sudan. The Blue Nile, which comes from Ethiopia, and the White Nile from Lake Victoria, merge at Khartoum.

Sudan has supported Ethiopia’s construction of the Renaissance Dam near the Sudanese border. The dam will give Ethiopia hydropower revenues, while Sudan can use the water for irrigation purposes, which may in turn affect the supply of water to Egypt.

Both in Sudan and in other countries in the region beyond the Nile basin, Sudan is often referred to as the bread basket of the region. Yet this is only possible if the country receives enough investment and gets its agricultural policy in order.

Use of the Nile’s water resources may become critical in the future.

Sudan has comprehensive environmental problems connected to desertification and mining, among other things. Poverty, conflict and weak administration generally result in little attention being paid to environmental and climate issues.

Development cooperation

For Norway, cooperation with Sudan is important as part of efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region, and particularly important are improved relations between Sudan and South Sudan. Support for the African Union has been key, and Norway preferably attempts to coordinate its political agenda through the Troika consisting of the USA, the UK and Norway.

In 2014, the total volume of Norwegian aid to the Sudan was approximately NOK 209 million, including contributions to peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid, a decline from approximately NOK 317 million in 2013.

Humanitarian aid

Around half of the support is humanitarian aid to areas affected by conflict, especially South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

The most important channels are the UN system and certain Norwegian and international aid organizations , including Norwegian Church Aid and the Red Cross.

Oil for Development (OfD)

The agreement on aid from the Oil for Development programme is for a total of NOK 57 million over a three-year period. A total of NOK 13 million was paid out in 2014. This cooperation goes back to 2006, when the first agreement with the national coalition government was established to build capacity and strengthen the management of oil resources.

There was a high level of activity in the programme in 2014. Necessary modernization and increased transparency and reform of the government management of oil resources was facilitated. One significant initiative was the establishment of a committee to prepare a new oil policy for Sudan and develop good legislation for the oil sector. This has also contributed to establishing the groundwork for a fairer distribution of the oil resources of Sudan.

Surveying and collecting data on the oil resources has improved Sudan’s abilities to establish sustainable management of these resources.

In addition, the programme has contributed to raising awareness of healthy management with respect to both the environment and to health and safety. Sudan receives limited impulses in these areas from its largest partners and operators on the production side, which are primarily from East, South and Southeast Asia.

The programme has facilitated further development of the climate of cooperation between the oil ministries in Sudan and South Sudan.

Survey of marine resources

An agreement was entered into for a new three-year programme at the end of 2014, with a total budget of NOK 35 million. NOK 3 million was paid out in 2014. The aim of the programme is to contribute to sustainable and healthy natural resource management by building up fishery catch statistics for Sudanese waters. Responsible exploitation of renewable marine resources in the Red Sea will also strengthen traditional and professional fishing in the coastal areas of East Sudan.

Support for the Bureau of Statistics

The three-year programme of institutional cooperation between the Sudanese Central Bureau of Statistics and Statistics Norway (SSB) has a total budget of NOK 9 million. NOK 3 million was paid out in 2014 and contributed, for example, to the development of a business and enterprise register and to the completion of a national consumption survey.

Support for university cooperation

Cooperation between the university communities in Khartoum and Bergen (Christian Michelsen Institute) contributed to the production of knowledge on key development areas that are relevant to peacebuilding in the Sudan and between Sudan and South Sudan. This cooperation also contributed to strengthening capacity at several universities in Sudan.

Digitization and storage of Sudanese television archives

This project represents cooperation between the University of Bergen, the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Sudanese television. The goal is to digitize and store films and videos from Sudanese television to prevent historically important material from being lost, and to make material available for research. The project is greatly delayed due to a change in the implementation concept.

Conflict-reducing measures in South Kordofan

The organization SOS Sahel has received support for its conflict-prevention work with the nomad population in South Kordofan and Abyei since 2011. Results from the start-up until the beginning of 2014:

  • The training of over 600 persons and 31 local organizations in conflict management, negotiation methods and natural resource management has been completed.
  • Improved supply of water to over 13 000 people in areas of repeated conflict through the rehabilitation of a water reservoir and two water wells, and the training of 17 local persons for maintenance of the water stations.
  • Protection of cattle and grazing land through the training of 10 persons in basic veterinary skills, support for two vaccination campaigns and the completion of an exercise to mark and rehabilitate corridors for moving cattle.
  • Vocational training of 38 former cattle farmers for new occupations, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, electricians, masons and mechanics. Some of them have established their own businesses where they live.


The Darfur Community Peace and Stability Fund is managed by the UNDP with contributions from USAID, DFID, Switzerland and Sweden, in addition to Norway. The aim of the programme is to support peace and stability in Darfur. The programme has contributed to resolving conflicts without violence and to building relations across local communities to prevent conflict breaking out in the future.

The programme is regarded as one of the relatively few successful initiatives that contribute to reducing conflict in a situation where there has generally been a serious escalation of the level of conflict in recent years. At the same time, the programme has contributed to self-reliance for parts of Darfur’s population as an important complementary measure to humanitarian aid. 

The programme is nevertheless impeded by the negative development of the security situation and the humanitarian situation. There is still a need to reinforce the programme’s focus on the situation of women, and a special strategy for follow-up of this has now been prepared. Norway supported the fund in the amount of NOK 12 million in 2014.


Norway supported UNICEF’s development of systems to avoid and counteract violence against children and women in Sudan in the amount of NOK 12 million in 2014. UNICEF will work with legislation and with institutions for the protection of  boys and girls. This also includes work on services for boys, girls and women who have been exposed to violence and abuse, and the development of a strategy to combat child marriage. The programme is based in part on an earlier

UNICEF programme supported by Norway, which showed the following results from the start-up in 2007 to the beginning of 2014:

  • More than 11 000 children have benefited from the reintegration programme. Approximately 450 of these children were formerly associated with armed groups.
  • The training of 271 persons in the Sudanese army on the rights and protection of children in 2013 and 2014.
  • Psychosocial support for more than 43 000 victims of violence.
  • Protection groups (FCPUs) support children exposed to war by establishing areas for children in camps.
  • Protection groups (FCPUs) were initially established by the Sudanese police in Khartoum in 2007, and they have now spread to 17 states. More than 15 000 children have received assistance.

Voluntary organizations

Norad supports several Norwegian voluntary organizations working in Sudan through local partners. In 2014, this support totalled NOK 28 million. The support funds activities such as access to clean drinking water, access to health services for marginalized groups, the participation and security of women, as well as the role of faith-based networks in peacebuilding and coexistence. The largest Norwegian grant recipients in Sudan include Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Red Cross and ADRA.

Published 28.08.2014
Last updated 02.10.2015