Leader: President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Population: 35 million
Language: Arabic is the official language. Other languages include Sudanic languages, Nubian and English.
Religion: Sunni Islam is the official religion and is practiced by 70% of the population. Other religions include animism (25%) and Christianity (5%).
Economy: GNI per capita: USD $530
Monetary Unit: Sudanese Dinar
Main Exports: Oil, cotton, sesame, livestock and hides, gum arabic.
Net primary school enrolment: 53%
Net primary school enrolment of girls: 45.6%
Health: Life Expectancy: 55 years (men), 58 years (women)
Infant mortality rate: 63%
HIV Prevalence: 2.3%
Income Distribution: Sudan has a highly uneven distribution of income, with more than 40% of the country living below the poverty line.
Environment: The most urgent threats facing Sudan’s diverse environment are soil erosion, desertification and drought.
Politics: Sudan is a republic with a federal system of government. In July 2005, a power-sharing constitution was signed between President Omar al-Bashir and John Garang, the former southern Sudanese rebel leader. After Garang died in a plane crash in August 2005, Salva Kiir took his place as the head of a transitional administration in southern Sudan. After a six-year period of autonomy, a referendum on independence will be held in the south.
Current Political Climate: On 9 January 2005, a peace agreement between the government of Sudan and the southern former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement marked the end of the 21-year north-south civil war. Since 2003, however, conflict in the western region of Darfur has caused large scale population displacements and rampant human rights violations. The situation in Darfur has been described by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Position of Women: The 2005 constitution opened a window of opportunity for women in the south, who have traditionally suffered from low social status and limited access to resources, education and legal protection. The constitution does not specifically guarantee women’s rights, but it does guarantee basic human rights and equal citizenship between men and women. In the western region of Darfur, however, the climate for women is extremely violent. Sexual violence and rape are pervasive.
Children in Sudan: 21 years of conflict have left southern Sudanese children more chronically malnourished and less likely to complete primary school than children anywhere else in the world. While the January 2005 peace agreement offers hope for children in the south, over 1.4 million children in Darfur have been displaced by conflict. One million of these children remain beyond the reach of humanitarian relief, and they are often the victims of starvation, abduction, and rape.
Freedom: Religious, racial, and political intolerance are common. Freedom of the press is also highly restricted.
Salatet Zabady Bil Ajur
(Cucumber Yogurt Salad)
2 cups plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Method: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. At serving time, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.