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Sudan: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing Business in Sudan

Businessmen should wear a lightweight suit. Visiting businesspeople should respect Muslim customs. It should be clearly stated in advance if the visitor is female. English is widely spoken in business circles although knowledge of a few words of Arabic will be well received. Punctuality is less important than patience and politeness. Personal introductions are an advantage; business cards should have an Arabic translation on the reverse.

Office Hours

Sat-Thurs 0800-1430.

Economy

Since the late 1990s, the export of oil has transformed Sudan’s economic outlook, from basketcase to years of boom. Investment has changed Khartoum through large-scale building projects, while Chinese support has helped with a sizeable road-building scheme as well as the construction of the Merowe hydroelectric dam north of Khartoum. Following the independence of South Sudan, oil revenues are expected to decrease, as many oil fields are in the South.

Agriculture employs most of the workforce however, producing cotton – wheat, groundnuts, sorghum and sugar cane. Production of gum arabic, once an important product, has declined through the introduction of synthetic substitutes and increasing competition, particularly from West Africa. Livestock breeding remains important.

The manufacturing sector concentrates on processing the country’s agricultural output (sugar, for example) and the production of textiles, cement and some consumer goods. There are some mineral deposits including marble, mica, chromite, gypsum and gold.

GDP

$65.93 billion (2010 est. prior to South Sudan independence)

Main exports

Crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, gold, sorghum, peanuts, gum arabic, sugar, meat, hides, live animals and sesame seeds.

Main imports

Oil and petroleum products, oil pipeline, pumping and refining equipment, chemical products and equipment, wheat and wheat flour, transport equipment, food, tea, agricultural inputs and machinery, industrial inputs and manufactured goods.

Main trading partners

China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India

Keeping in Touch in Sudan

Telephone

Outgoing international calls must go through the operator.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is widespread.

Internet

Internet access is available in main towns.

Media

Television and radio stations are mostly government-controlled.