The Republic of Sudan became an independent country on 1 January 1956. Omar Al Bashir, the head of the National Congress Party, governed the country from 1989 to April 2019. Bashir was removed from power in April 2019 following popular demonstrations. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), led by Lieutenant General Adel-Fattah al-Burhan, and Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), an umbrella body representing protesters and civil society, have been the key players negotiating Sudan’s transition to a democratic government.
The parties signed a power-sharing agreement drafted by the African Union and Ethiopia on 17 July 2019. In August 2019 a Constitutional Declaration was signed and an 11-member Sovereign Council (six civilians and five military) was formed that will run the country for a three-year transitional period until elections. The initial chair of the Sovereign Council is Lt. General Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan who will hand over to a civilian after 18 months. Mr Abdalla Hamdok, an economist who previously was head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, was appointed as Prime Minister, and a new Cabinet was announced in September 2019. The new government is conducting peace negotiations with rebel groups and has an ambitious economic reform agenda.
Sudan is recovering from a series of civil wars with severe consequences for the population and the economy. In the Darfur region, the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007 to protect civilians and mediate conflict, its mandate has been extended until 31 October 2020. Following years of fighting and then a referendum, South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011. The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was established in June 2011 to monitor and demilitarise the disputed border region of Abyei, between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Sudan is hosting over 800,000 South Sudanese refugees as well as refugees from other regional countries.
Sudan is a member of regional organisations such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD – an East African bloc that promotes regional peace, prosperity and integration), the African Union, and the Arab League.
Sudan has sought to diversify its economy by developing its mining and agricultural sectors. These sectors presently contribute approximately 35 per cent-40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. Sudan is one of the three top gold producers in Africa and has substantial arable land and water resources.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Sudan is from the Australian embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Sudan established an embassy in Canberra in 2017. Our growing two-way relationship features a shared interest in the strategic affairs of the region, as well as modest trade and people-to-people links. In September 2018, Australia and Sudan held their inaugural Senior Officials Talks.
Sudan regularly attends Africa Down Under and International Mining and Resources Conference at ministerial level. The Australian Embassy Cairo facilitated a sustainable mining workshop in Khartoum in February 2018 and the Sudanese Embassy Canberra organised Australia-Sudan Business Forums in Sydney (August 2018 and February 2019).
Australia’s exports to Sudan were $16 million in 2018, mostly in the agricultural sector. Although commercial engagement is currently limited, potential opportunities are emerging for Australian companies in Sudan, especially in extractives and agribusiness. In May 2018, Resolute Mining announced a $22.5 million investment in Sudan-focused gold mining company Orca Gold.
Economic and trade information
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- The Australian Embassy in Egypt is responsible for Sudan