Panoramic photo of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan

Sudan Sense of a new beginning after decades of dictatorship

Following peaceful protests by the people of the Sudan, in particular young people and women, the Sudanese State President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April 2019.

Prior to that, the country had experienced 30 years of dictator­ship, civil war and the dis­enfranchise­ment and exclusion of large sections of the population. In September 2019, a dual military-civilian interim government took over. Its task is to draft a new constitution, implement far-reaching political and economic reforms, and prepare the ground for free general elections – all by early 2024.


Development cooperation

Germany suspended its development cooperation with Sudan after Bashir seized power in 1989. In order to bring some relief directly to the suffering people of Sudan, a few selected measures were funded under the transitional development assistance programme and the Special Initiative on Displacement.

After Bashir was ousted in 2019, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development stepped up its activities in the Sudan considerably. In 2020, the German parliament passed a motion to re-start official bilateral development cooperation with the Sudan. Development cooperation now focuses on measures to foster peace and social cohesion and to create job opportunities for the predominantly young population. 

For further information on German-Sudanese cooperation, see below (External link).

The Sudan Partnership Conference

The informal Friends of Sudan group was established in June 2019 on a German initiative to coordinate international support for the Sudan. A year later, in June 2020, delegations from 40 countries and 15 international organisations took part in a web-based conference, the Sudan Partnership Conference (External link). Co-hosts of the conference were Germany, the United Nations, the European Union and the Sudan.

The international partners committed more than 1.8 billion US dollars to assist the country. The conference also highlighted the next steps that the Sudan should take to smooth the way for a possible debt relief process under the HIPC Initiative.

Current situation

Street scene in the Sudanese capital Khartoum

First reform efforts accomplished Internal link

After three decades of dictatorship and economic isolation, the new interim government is moving the Sudan toward peace, democracy and an opening up of the country's economy. First reforms have been undertaken, for instance within the legal system.

People fleeing in Sudan

Basic services not available in all parts of the country Internal link

The humanitarian situation in the Sudan is dire and has deteriorated continuously throughout 2020. Sixty per cent of the population are living in extreme poverty; in remote areas such as South Kordofan and Darfur, that proportion rises in some places to almost 90 per cent.

A Sudanese farmer harvesting millet.

A country in deep crisis Internal link

The Bashir Regime pursued an economic policy characterised by government intervention, corruption and cronyism. Furthermore, it focused primarily on the extraction of oil and gold, with the top echelons of government, public administration and the security forces creaming off a large proportion of the profits.

German development cooperation with the Sudan

German Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting Siemens' develoPPP vocational training centre for trainers of energy and power plant technicians in Khartoum in February 2020

German Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting Siemens' develoPPP vocational training centre for trainers of energy and power plant technicians in Khartoum in February 2020

German Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting Siemens' develoPPP vocational training centre for trainers of energy and power plant technicians in Khartoum in February 2020

Germany suspended its development cooperation with the Sudan after Bashir seized power in a coup d'état in 1989. However, it did continue to fund grassroots measures which directly benefitted the suffering people. These measures were implemented primarily by United Nations' organisations, international non-governmental organisations or the German implementing organisation, GIZ.

After Bashir was ousted, the Bundestag (Germany's national parliament) asked the German government in February 2020 to resume bilateral development cooperation with the Sudan. At the Sudan Partnership Conference held in June 2020, the BMZ pledged 118 million euros to support the reform-minded interim government. In addition, the Federal Foreign Office made available 32 million euros in funding for humanitarian relief operations.

In addition to supporting peace-building and social cohesion measures, Germany's development cooperation with the Sudan focuses especially on helping to create job opportunities for the predominantly young population. The BMZ is providing support for the interim government's social transfer programme, which seeks to alleviate social hardships for the population.

Other projects currently being implemented under development cooperation seek to provide support for refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities and, over the longer term, to eliminate structural causes of displacement such as poverty, inequality and lack of food security. Vocational education and employment programmes have an important role to play in these efforts – as does the provision of basic services such as water supply and sanitation systems, education, health care and food security.