Sudan: A Metaphor for Africa?

The Brenthurst Foundation's Director, Greg Mills, recounts the Sudanese story, detailing how the nation came to be where it is today.
Published 26 April 2021

The 7,000km Nile exemplifies the ties that bind the region together, whatever the politics and beliefs stretching their people apart. The controversy surrounding the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile both underscores the extent of the self-reliance and the extent of political failure in finding a resolution.

The region is inextricably and increasingly interdependent in terms of the ties of people, goods and infrastructure. Egypt is the fourth-largest market for Sudan's exports at 10% of the total, with Ethiopia the fifth largest, comprising 3.6% of exports. Sudan's neighbours absorb a total of 14.2% of its exports. There is more to this than the flow of goods. There are approximately 50,000 Sudanese officially living in Ethiopia, and, during the Tigrayan crisis, at least 65,000 Ethiopians in Sudan.

Sudan has to manage its regional relations, turning confrontation into co-operation while reducing tensions, managing egos and redirecting geopolitical ambitions to its own interests.

All this will place a premium on leadership, including the management of expectations of the population.

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