Republic of Sudan sometimes referred as the North Sudan is the third largest country in the Africa after Algeria and Democratic Republic of Congo. Geographically Sudan is located in the Northern Africa which is bordered with Egypt in north, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Red Sea are located in east, South Sudan is in the south and western neighbors are Chad and Libya. Total Area of Sudan is 1,886,068 Sq. Km. Population as per as per UN estimate 2015 is 40,235,000. Capital of Sudan is Khartoum and Arabic is its national language. In the 2005 Constitution English was also declared as official language of Sudan with Arabic. Major religion is Islam with 97% population follows it. Literacy rate in Sudan is 72 percent.
Sudan achieved independence from Anglo-Egyptian Rule on January 01, 1956. Sudan is Member of United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, African Union and Arab League.
After suffering from internal conflict since its independence Sudan is poised for economic growth and diplomatic out reach. Sudan is a country rich in oil, uranium, gold and copper and natural resources that have been coveted by superpowers for decades and waged conflicts in the country. Due to civil wars and crisis Sudan has been divided into north and south Sudan; also disturbed relations of Sudan with its neighbors. The economic progress also suffered due to these conflicts. The GDP growth of the Sudan is 3.7 percent in 2016. Oil was Sudan’s main export. Historically agriculture remains the main source of income and employment hiring of over 80 percent of Sudanese, and makes up a third of the economic sector. Sudan exports 4.60 billion USD worth of goods and its imports are of USD 6.20 billion. The current government has taken initiatives to enhance the economic growth of the country.
Relations between Pakistan and Sudan are based on strong Islamic bond and political connections. Both the countries are striving for further strengthening of mutual ties. Pakistan has also suffered from political instability since its inception and violence after the start of war on terror in 2001. Pakistan has also lost its half part due to internal conflict and international conspiracy. Both the countries can share their experience to effectively resolve their internal issues. Both the countries are members of OIC. Pakistan and Sudan can play their role in bringing unity among Muslims through OIC platform. Like Pakistan, Sudan has refused to acknowledge the usurper state of Israel and fully supports the Palestinian cause. China has been involved in the development of Sudan by investing in the oil Sector of the country since 1990’s. China has also been an economic partner and close friend of Pakistan since 1950’s. China, Pakistan and Sudan can forge economic partnership to better serve common interests. It will also enhance political influence of Pakistan and Sudan in their respective regions and internationally. Pakistan’s exports to Sudan amount to USD 67 million and imports up to USD2.20 million and the trade between the countries is steadily increasing. Sudan imports cement, steel, rice and electrical equipment and exports cotton and leather to Pakistan. Pakistan also contributed to the UN peacekeeping force in Sudan with 1,542 personnel and 92 Observers. Pakistan and Sudan can cooperate in the fields of research, agriculture, technical education, military and economic sectors. Pakistan is also supporting Sudan with higher education as more than five hundred students from Sudan study in the universities of Pakistan which is the highest number of Sudanese students to any foreign country. Sudan has donated generously in the relief efforts during earthquake in 2005 and floods in 2010 in Pakistan. With shared Islamic bond as well as historical baggage of colonial rule and internal conflicts, both Pakistan and Sudan have vast potential for benefiting from each other’s experience. Through a common and sincere friend China, both can cement ties in geo-strategic, economic, defense, telecommunication, transportation infrastructure, energy, education, health and such like fields for prosperity. Besides, closer cooperation between the two brotherly countries would help improve their standing at regional as well as international level. With mutual support, they can play vibrant role in different forums, of which they are members, for united stance on issues of common interest, particularly those relating to the Muslim Ummah.
To further cement the relations and encourage people to people interaction Pak-Sudan People’s Friendship Association (PSPFA) was established on May 19, 2016 in Islamabad.
The establishment of PSPFA is a remarkable achievement. The objectives of Association are;
- To identify challenges faced by both countries, explore causes and implications of these challenges, recommend workable solutions, promote understanding among masses and their participation for the solutions.
- To inspire youth of both countries for acquisition of modern scientific and creative knowledge.
- Broaden vision of youth of both countries to make them grasp future challenges and be prepared to brave the same.
- Identify areas with prospects of coordination & cooperation within Pakistan and Sudan to promote unity, stability and prosperity of both countries.
- To promote mutual understanding among Pakistanis and Sudanese.
- To strengthen the relations of both countries on the basis of commonalties among the people of both countries in different fields of life and to bring the people of two countries together on the basis of commonalities.
- To build close and continuing cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and Sudan in order to encourage greater understanding between the peoples of both nations.
- To provide a forum for the discussion of topics of common interest to the people of the Pakistan and Sudan
- To take benefit of experiences of each other to face the challenges of modern world.
In a recent development United States has announced the end of a 20-year economic embargo on Sudan, lifting trade and financial sanctions in an effort to foster ties with the Sudanese government. For the first time in two decades, Sudan will be able to receive imported goods and services from the US, as authorised by the US Department of the Treasury. The lift will also release frozen Sudanese property and assets held in the US, and permits the trade with the oil and gas industry in Sudan. The withdrawal of economic sanctions will play a vital role in uplifting the economy and on diplomatic front a more responsible state in Africa.