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Secession pushes Sudan's economy to brink

With an ever-weakening economy, the cost of secession is mounting for the Sudanese government

Sudan’s government is beset by challenges on all fronts. Just over 18 months ago, it presided over the secession of the southern part of the country, and with it three quarters of its oil resources, half its fiscal revenues and two-thirds of its international payments capacity.

Even after the end of almost 50 years of civil war with the south, it is still at war on three fronts: in Darfur in the west and in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan on the border with South Sudan.

The combination of the loss of the south, the expense of ongoing conflict, and economic mismanagement by the state has left the economy in tatters. The drop in oil production has been particularly damaging, exacerbated by Khartoum’s unwillingness to facilitate the resumption of southern oil supplies through Sudan.

Soaring inflation is hurting a population of which almost half lives on less than $1 a day and which is suffering from 20 per cent unemployment.

As the economy collapses around them, the state is being attacked on numerous fronts, but by a combination of printing money, political oppression, and the distractions of military conflict, Al-Bashir’s regime survives.

Change from within may come, eventually. But external pressure must also be brought to bear. With discussions under way to forgive a portion of Sudan’s $46bn of external debt, concessions must only be granted in return for a change of behaviour in Khartoum.