A Study of the Past for Understanding the Sudan of Today

The Economic and Political Development of the Sudan
by Francis A. Lees and Hugh C. Brooks

The Sudan is one of the (few) exciting cases of democratic transition and as such has featured strongly not only on the frontpages across the world but also as a key factor for international development. Testimony to which was the May 17 International Conference on Sudan hosted by President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

With hopes running high for turning what the U.S. deemed a state sponsor of international terrorism into a democratic country of more than 40 million people, the world’s powerful players flocked to the French capital to promise economic help in exchange for new policies implemented by the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

As so often is the case with such give-and-take deals, the measures implemented by the government are hitting the poor the hardest. Eliminating subsidies and devaluing the Sudanese pound affected those with small pockets directly. The consequence of the measures, deemed necessary to gain pledges of debt relief, are a growing anger among the general population. The people who took huge personal risks to kick out the old regime of Omar al-Bashir some two years ago are now struggling to see the economic dividend of their fight. This is putting additional pressure on the civilian part of the government of Sudan.

For a thorough analysis of the current economic situation one needs to take a close look at the past and the development of the economy in case. One study that provides the necessary insight and detailed approach is “The Economic and Political Development of the Sudan” by Francis A. Lees and Hugh C. Brooks. Published originally in 1977, Routledge recently re-released the book, which gives an excellent overview of Sudan in its early decades of independence.

With a keen eye on detail and relevant statistic, Lees and Brooks provides the reader with a wealth of background about the emerging country bordering today on the Red Sea, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea – giving it a central position in Northeast Africa. The work by the two authors covers geographic, ethnic and political dimensions, complete with an account of the colonial past, a period of domination by Britain and Egypt that ended in 1956.

Published by Routledge in 2018./abr

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