Sudan and its Trade Economy in 2020


Sudan, one of the largest Arab nations, is witnessing a come back in the international trade scenario. The GDP growth rate is expected to bounce back to -1.4% in 2020 from a low of -2.6% in 2019. With a GDP of USD 175Billion, it is often considered as a fast emerging economy in the Sub Saharan region. 

Influence of Agriculture in Sudan’s Trade Economy

Sudan’s trade is dominated by agriculture products since the early 19th century and accounted to almost 80% of the total exports. Cotton, peanuts, gum Arabic, and sorghum were the main commodities. Live animal; hides and skins and cottonseed, peanuts constituted the more important remaining export items. Sudan has also been the world’s second-largest exporter of long-staple cotton and cotton exports constituted more than 50% of total exports by value in the 1960s. Sesame became the third most valuable export in the 1970s. Agricultural production remains important, because it also employs 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. However, the agriculture contribution to the overall GDP has dropped in the period 2017-2018

Sudan and its trade partners

According to the statistics released by the Central Bank of Sudan, the countries major trade partners in the African region are Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya. Outside the African continent, the major trading partners are China, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Turkey, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan etc. Sudan’s major export commodities are Crude oil, Benzene, Kerosene and Cotton. The country has exported almost 20 Million barrel of Crude oil in the first three quarters of 2019. Sudan’s top import commodities include Wheat & Wheat Flour, Sugar, Dairy products, Vegetables etc. Till September 2019, the country has imported 5.7Million MT of Wheat & Wheat Flour.

Trade Agreements in Place for Sudan

  • In 2000, Sudan entered COMESA, or Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa which a free trade area with twenty-one member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini 
  • Sudan Signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) in 2018, an agreement that would lead to the continent being a free trade zone.
  • Sudan is a part of the African Union which has Initiated Agenda 2063- is the blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future including better trade and industrial developments.
  • Ethiopia and Sudan signed a Bilateral Agreement in 2013 to promote tariff-free trade between the two countries.
  • The Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Government of the Republic of India has signed a Commercial agreement to develop and strengthen the trade between the two countries and to promote closer economic relation.
  • The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 countries including Sudan.

The current investment Scenario

In the past few years, there is a lot of investment interest by Asian and Middle Eastern countries in Sudan. A large majority of the $60Billion aid to Africa from China was invested in Sudan. Chinese oil companies have also shown high interest in investing in oil&gas industry in the country. Countries from the GCC region are also showing a lot of interest in potential sector opportunities like mining, agriculture, livestock etc. 

For more in-depth research and information about the Sudanese market, please get in touch with our consultants.