Where is Sudan located?
Sudan is located in the north eastern part of Africa and occupies 1,886,000 square kilometers, making it Africa’s 3rd largest country by area. It shares borders with 7 other countries and borders the Red Sea proper, it is also home to the longest river in the world, the River Nile. Before the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan was the largest country in Africa.
Information on Sudan:
– Population: 47,958,856 (2022)
– Currency: Sudanese Pound | Currency Symbol: SDG
– Official languages: Arabic and English (With 114 native languages and more than 500 accents, Sudan has a diverse multilingual population.)
– Sudan total area: 728,215 square miles (1,886,068 square kilometers) – (Sudan is the 16th largest country in the world by land area)
– Sudan comprises 18 states.
– Nominal GDP: $187 billion | Nominal per capita GDP: $4,586
– The Sudan has a 530-mile (853 km) coastline bordering the Red Sea.
– The White Nile and the Blue Nile are the two tributaries of the Nile. These two tributaries merge at Khartoum—the capital of Sudan—becoming the Nile River proper before flowing into Egypt. Its other major tributaries are the Bahr el Ghazal, Sobat and Atbarah rivers.
– The countries bordering the Sudan by land, are Libya, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, and the Central African Republic.
– The metric system is the legal standard, but a highly diverse system based on Egyptian and British standards is in local use for weights and measures.
Methods of travel
Airplanes, buses, trains, and ship are various means of transportation to travel from and to Sudan. There are also several land entrances linking Sudan with its 7 neighboring countries. The countries bordering Sudan by land, are Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The total length of the land frontier is 6,780 km divided as follows:
• Arabic Republic of Egypt: 1,273 km
• Libya: 383 km
• Chad: 1,340 km
• Central African Republic: 448 km
• State of South Sudan: 1,973
• Ethiopia: 727 km
• Eritrea: 636 km
Check points on the borders of Sudan and neighboring countries facilitate the passage of travelers and goods. The main land routes are:
Halayiib is a Sudanese customs checkpoint with a land road leading to Elsuez via Shalateen and Abu ramad. Halayiib is connected to Port Sudan by means of a land track.
Mount Ouwainaat represents the borderline between Sudan and Libya. It is connected to two major Sudanese towns by land tracks; first through the desert to Dongola and secondly to Kutum in north Darfour. A Sudanese customs checkpoint is located at 50 km from Ouwainaat.
El Geneina on the Sudanese side and Adri on the Chadian side represent the main passage between the two countries. They are linked together by a land track. A Sudanese customs checkpoint is located in El Geneina.
- Sudan-Central Africa:
Um Dafoug located in the Southern most part of Darfur is the main border checkpoint for passage between Sudan and Central Africa. From Um Dafoug a land track leads to Nyala, the largest town in the region.
There are several land entrances between Sudan and Eritrea:
1. Kassala is bordered the Eritrean Town of Tasanay. There is a customs checkpoint at Kassala.
2. Garroara is a town on the northern frontier divided by both countries though having the same name.
TRAVELING IN SUDAN
While in Sudan, all means of transportation are available, however, traveling by land is easier due to the availability of large stretches of paved roads and a network of railway lines that extend to most parts of the country.
Air Travel: Sudan Airways and Badr Airlines provide air transportation to the different cities in Sudan as well as outside Sudan. There are also several foreign airline companies providing air transportation between Sudan and different parts of the World.
Marine Lines & River Transport: Traveling by sea is convenient means of transportation to and from nearby countries such as Saudi Arabia.
Railway: The reason for the construction of railways from Wadi-Halfa in the north to the interior of Sudan at the turn of the century was to facilitate the advance of the Anglo-Egyptian army, led by lord Kitchener, and in establishing its supply lines. The railway road to Khartoum was completed before the year of 1930 and it was the first mechanical means of transport introduced in Sudan. After fulfilling its military missions, Sudan railways was turned in to a civil Government Department commuting passengers and the freight. The town of Atbara, located at the confluence of the Atbara River and the Nile north Sudan, was made a home base and headquarters of Sudan Railways.
Travelers may make their reservations at Khartoum, Atbara and Wadi Halfa rail Stations.
Besides passenger transport, railways in Sudan contribute substantially to promoting incoming and outgoing trade via Port Sudan and the river berth of Wadi Halfa, as the cost of freight transport by rail is significantly less than by other methods of transport.
REGULAR RAILWAY LINES:
- Nyala, Eddaein, Abuzabad, Kosti, Sennar, Medani, Khartoum.
- Al obeid, Kosti, Sennar-Medani-Khartoum (travels duration 24 hours).
- Karima-Abu hamed-Atbara-Shendi, Khartoum (travels duration 30 hours).
- Port Sudan Atbara Shendi Khartoum (travels duration 24 hours).
- Wadi Halfa Abu hamed Atbara Shendi Khartoum (travel duration 24 hours).
The first motor way connecting Khartoum to Wadi Medani was constructed after Sudan gained independence from the 1957 to 1964.
- Khartoum-Atbara: This motorway spans 306 km and is the first asphalt motorway to be constructed on the east of the Nile, north of Khartoum. The archeological sites of the ancient kingdom of Meroe are located along its path, south of Shendi, at Elbagrawiya, Elnaqa”a and Musawarat.
- Khartoum-Damazeen: This motor way is approximately 550 km in length and runs through the major agricultural production areas of Gezira, Sinaar, Singa and Damazeen.
- Khartoum Elobeid: Heading southwards through the western side of Gezira along the White Nile, this motorway links several towns of the White Nile and Kurdufan State along a distance of 719 km.
- Khartoum Kadugli: This motor way is 900 km long and connects Khartoum to the capital of South Kurdufan state, Kadugli. Located along the road are the cities of Um Ruwaba, Rahad, Eldebeibat, Dilling and lastly, Kadugli.
- Khartoum-Port Sudan: This motorway stretches along 1190 km. It passes by many major towns before terminating at Port Sudan.
- Nyala-Kass-Zalingei: This motor way connects Nyala town, the capital of South Darfour state to the towns Kass and Zalingei in the highland region of Jebel Marra through a distance of 210 km.
– Umdurman-Dongola-Karma Elnuzul-Abri-Wadi Halfa
– Umdurman-Dongola-Elowainaat on the Sudanese-Libyan border
These tracks traverse the northern desert plains and have recently witnessed increased traffic due to the increase in commercial and the passenger activity between the two countries. They are also seasonal tracks, which become impassible during the rainy season (between the months of June and September). These tracks are located below 14 degrees latitude.
Khartoum- New Halfa: this road crosses the Butana Region, Umdurman, Elobied, El fasher, Umkaddada, Elgeneina- across the desert territories of Kurdufan and Darfur state- Damazeen, Kurnuk, and Geissan in the Blue Nile State.
Kosti-Gabalein-Rank-Malakal-Juba: this road may be used to traverse the southern region of the country during the dry season (November-February) provided conditions are optimal.
Sudan and the United States
The United States established diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1956 following its independence from the joint administration by Egypt and the United Kingdom. Since then, relations between Sudan and the United States witnessed several challenges and key changes, the most prominent of which, perhaps, is the shift in relations that occurred in 1996 after the United States withdrew its ambassador and closed its embassy in Khartoum, following the designation of Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The United States then imposed economic sanctions on Sudan and the relations between the two countries worsened. In spite of the embassy re-opening 2002, relations between the two countries remained tense and diplomatic representation was limited to the role of Chargé d’affaires. However, the recent developments in the political scene in Sudan and the change in the US foreign policy – that appeared to place emphasis on conciliatory diplomacy – allowed the latter to be more sensitive to the realities on the ground in Sudan, and allowed better understanding of the Sudanese perspective on regional and international issues.
The October 2017 executive order by President Trump lifting the economic sanctions raised hopes that contentious issues such as Sudan’s presence on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, and the sub-optimal bilateral relations could be resolved; it also promised to reset economic relations between the two countries. Technical, cultural and scientific exchanges suddenly appeared more possible than they had in a generation and mutually beneficial economic cooperation seemed a likely possibility.
It is worth mentioning that the tense diplomatic relations the countries endured in the past did not affect their long history of friendship and cooperation, and though numerous instances to demonstrate this fact can be cited, the most worth recalling, perhaps, is the humanitarian assistance the U.S. has in the past rendered during catastrophic periods of famine and drought in Sudan; and amongst the latest of such achievements is the peace the U.S. helped broker in 2005 that effectively ended the longest-running civil war in Africa.
Sudan, for its part, has been instrumental in the U.S. war on terrorism, a contribution for which the latter has on numerous occasions expressed gratitude. These are but a few examples of fruitful interactions that characterize the cordial bilateral relations between the countries.
The United States has in more recent years doubled its diplomatic efforts and continues to work with the Sudanese government, civil society, and other stakeholders to strengthen the bilateral relations. In 2017, the United States formally revoked longstanding sanctions against the Sudan that were imposed in 1997, and has in 2020 removed Sudan from State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Diplomatic representation was upgraded to the role of Ambassador in 2022 after the United States appointed H.E. John T. Godfrey as ambassador of the United States to Sudan, In turn, Sudan appointed H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abdalla Idris as ambassador of Sudan to the United States in the same year; putting an end to 26 years of deadlock in the relations between the two countries.
With the sanctions lifted and the US-Sudan bilateral relations strengthening, Sudanese and American individuals and entities are able to interact and transact with each other without the restrictions previously imposed. This positive development will undoubtedly help further improve economic ties and trade relations; something both sides are looking forward to as trade activity has been below the aspirations of both countries. At the current time, trade consists of cereals, vegetable extracts, syrups and agricultural machinery as well as arts and antiques. Sudan is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – which has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States – and it hopes to capitalize on this opportunity to improve its trade relations with the United States.
The relationship between U.S. lawmakers of both the Democratic and Republican parties and the people and government of the Sudan is reaching an all-time high, as a sense of mutual respect and understanding is fostered as never before. The legacy of past misunderstandings between the U.S. Legislative Branch and the Sudanese government has been replaced by an unprecedented willingness to cooperate on a wide range of regional issues, ranging from counter-terrorism to African economic development.
The Embassy, for its part, continues to actively engage with Congress in order to provide its members with solid and verifiable facts on Sudan.