Sudan is the third largest country in Africa, with a 780 km Red Sea coast attracting much international attention. The capital Khartoum marks the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. Sudan plays a pivotal role for the stability of the region, and lies on one of the main migration routes to Europe.
2019 witnessed sustained peaceful and popular protests, culminating in the ousting of President Bashir after 3 decades of authoritarian rule. Following an agreement between the military and the civilian opposition signed in September 2019, Sudan has embarked on a complex and fragile 3-year transition period towards democratic and free elections.
The economy is in severe crisis, with GDP contracting by approximatly 2% in both 2018 and 2019. Inflation in November 2019 was 60%. The Government of Sudan has presented an ambitious Economic Recovery Plan and is also committed to establishing peace throughout the country.
The main priorities for the EU are to contribute to promoting peace, improving governance and sustainable development for all. The specific objectives of EU cooperation are:
- promoting human rights and the rule of law, in the framework of a democratic transition
- pursuing sustainable development and enhancing resilience and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations
- encouraging participation of women and youth
- providing a comprehensive response to the migratory and displacement challenges
- cross cutting: implementing the humanitarian-development nexus.
Sudan has not ratified the revised Cotonou Agrement. Hence, the country was ineligible to receive funds from the European Development Fund. Nonetheless, the EU has provided €160 billion for the period 2016-2019 which have been implemented through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The EU shows a strong position on human rights by supporting Sudanese human rights organisations and the annual celebration of International Human Rights day.
Major areas of intervention are health and education. The EU is one of very few partners provding substantial funding for Sudanese Civil Society and Human Rights Organisations. Sudan receives funding from the EU for a Climate Change and Food Security programme, as well as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. In order to support mitigating measures of possible economic reforms, the EU has prepared an initial programme of €35 million for social protection.
The Eu is drafting a short term strategy related to the democratic transition in Sudan. The strategy will focus on essential stabilisation measures to respond to the huge development challenges facing the Sudanese population. These measures will also pave the way for democratic elections at the end of the transition in 2022.