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.
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.
$65.93 billion (2010 est. prior to South Sudan independence)
Crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, gold, sorghum, peanuts, gum arabic, sugar, meat, hides, live animals and sesame seeds.
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.
Outgoing international calls must go through the operator.
Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is widespread.
Internet access is available in main towns.
International post is slow.
Post office hours:
Sat-Thurs 0830-1200 and 1730-1830.
Television and radio stations are mostly government-controlled.
Censorship is imposed on all press publications, following the 1989 coup. The main dailies are Abbar al-Youm, Al-Rai al-Akhar and Al-wan. The Sudan Standard is an English-language daily. There are English-language magazines entitled New Horizon and Sudanow.
The government-run Sudan National Broadcasting Corporation (SNBC) operates two channels.
SNBC runs national and regional networks. Mango 96 FM is a Khartoum music station.