AFRICA/SUDAN - The economic and social crisis is fueling discontent and poverty

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 politics   civil society   society   poverty  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - Sudan is experiencing a delicate situation of transition. The economic situation is very difficult: subsidies on petrol and flour have been cut, prices are rising and the Sudanese pound is constantly losing value. People have a hard time getting by. There are also great uncertainties from a political and international point of view. This is the picture traced by missionary sources consulted by Agenzia Fides in Khartoum. “In November, one euro was worth 270 Egyptian pounds. Today it is worth 475 - the sources observe -. This has led to a surge in inflation. This, coupled with the abolition of subsidized fuel and bread prices, has created an explosive mixture. In recent weeks, people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the high cost of living. Demonstrations t have been severely repressed, but the people are increasingly poor”.
After the fall of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese hoped for a quick recovery of the economy and greater stability. But this did not happen. “Those who know the history and the Sudanese economic system - continue Fides sources - knew that an immediate recovery was impossible. Also because the government controls only 12% of national resources”.
The rest is in the hands of the armed forces. The Sudanese economic system is very similar to the Egyptian one. The military owns agricultural land, industries, service companies but the results of this management are not leading to growth. The profound economic crisis is part of a not simple national and international political context.
After years there have been new incidents in Darfur. The clashes, which rekindled over the Easter weekend, resulted in tens of deaths and thousands of refugees in neighboring states. Members of tribes of African ethnicity confront each other with others of Arab ethnicity. In the background, the struggle between nomadic herders and farmers for water and pastures. To this crisis is added that with Ethiopia due to ancient border disputes. “In the dispute with Ethiopia - the sources observe - different interests are intertwined. Yes, there is a question of borders, but there are also clashes related to the lack of agreement on the Great Millennium Dam built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (even the latest talks held in recent days have not led to any agreement, ed), there are interests for local resources (huge gold deposits are found in the disputed areas). Then one wonders what role Egypt plays. Cairo has a vested interest in moving Khartoum forward to destabilize Ethiopia. But what are the advantages for Sudan? An open war is not conceivable, but a low intensity war is not impossible and, certainly, it is no less harmful and dangerous than a traditional conflict”.
The political and economic situation is delicate. There are those who fear a possible coup. “The situation could favor the rise of a strong man - conclude the sources -. Some political leaders have already made speeches bordering on constitutional legality. That said, civil society, especially students and representatives of the professions, have developed a strong democratic consciousness. I do not think they would welcome a coup d'état. Citizens continue to fight for a harmonious development of the country and for a policy that looks to the common good and not to the particular and personal interests of individual politicians”. (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 7/4/2021)