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Effect of Civil War on Economic Growth: Evidence from Sudan Research Paper



One question that is often asked concerning the linkage of political to economic growth and development is the extent to which political stability, which implies the absence of national and civil strife in a country, creates a suitable environment for economic posterity. Economies are known to attain high levels of growth when there are substantial levels of stability resulting from political stability.

This implies that the prevalence of political instability in a country, which is exemplified by the present of frequent wars and precedent levels of violence, can be a major hindrance to the discharge of economic activities in a country, thereby inhibiting economic growth.

The linkage of economic retardation of a substantial number of economies in the world to the problem of civil wars in those countries has been done by a number of researchers. Of greater interest by the researchers have been countries that are endowed with massive natural resources that are critical for economic development, yet these countries are still classified as poor countries.

Some of the renowned examples are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, a number of countries in the Middle East, and recently the Republic of Sudan.

In exploring this paper, it is critical to begin by picturing the economic conditions of the country in order to get a clear view of the effects of civil war on the economy of the country. This is meant to give a basis on which to analyze and assess the economic growth in Sudan, especially the extent to which the civil war in the country has necessitated the seemingly poor economic conditions.

A substantial number of researches have pointed out that the civil war in Sudan is purely based on the strife for economic resources, which in turn has barred the effective exploitation of the resources besides resulting in the destruction of the resources that are critical in molding the economy.

This paper explores the effects of civil war on economic growth. The paper focuses on Sudan, which is one of the regions in the world that have witnessed persistence of civil wars.

Approach to the research problem

The most critical thing that is captured in this paper is the continuum of violence and its stretch on fragile economies; in this case the economy of Sudan. The most resounding question concerns the level at which the economy of Sudan could be considered to be fragile, irrespective of the endowment of the country with a lot of natural resources.

This paper seeks to collect a set of information on the attributes of sustained violence and the antecedents of war that act as supportive factors to sustained poverty in the country, in spite of the country having an array of natural resources. There are two perspectives in which the research problem can be approached in this paper.

The first perspective focuses on the attributes of war and the resultant violence and how they have necessitated retardation in economic growth in Sudan. The second perspective concerns the degree to which the economic growth in Sudan has been hindered by the long-held civil war in the country.

From the two perspectives, the research seeks to establish a conclusive evidence of the rate at which the long standing civil war in Sudan has resulted in an unstable economic environment in the country.

Of greater essence in the paper is the collection of a set of data and literature that will help in linking the scale of violence and instability caused by the civil war in Sudan and the rate of economic growth in the country. The paper refrains from the mere generalization of the problem which often bases on the assumption that civil wars have a negative impact on the GDP of a country.

Therefore, the aim here is to collect a set of information that is critical in establishing this linkage, from which the level of severity in terms of the impact of the civil war on the antecedents of economic growth in the country can be established. Can the current state of economic growth in Sudan, especially the southern region, be blamed on the civil war?

What are the real incidences of the civil war that can be cited as the main impediments to economic growth in the country? To what extent does the struggle for resources stand at the center of the civil war in Sudan? The exploration of these questions is critical in breaking the civil war and bringing out the key pointers of the civil war on economic retardation in the country.

When exploring this paper, it is critical to put emphasis on the fact that Southern Sudan, which is the most affected region, recently seceded from the larger Sudan and now considers itself to be an independent country. In addition, there are still long standing issues concerning resource sharing, which still affect the larger Sudan. This has remained to be a potential source of conflict or a factor that backs the protraction of the civil war.


The purpose of this paper is to determine how civil war contributes to the deterioration of economic forces in a country. This paper will focus on the civil war that took place in Sudan and illustrate how it influenced the performance of the economy. The research will gather information from books and journals in order to demonstrate the impact of civil war in Sudan.

The sources will provide data about the state of Sudan before the civil war and the state of the economy after the war. Moreover, the paper will provide review of literature that will illustrate the destructive nature of civil war in a country. The information obtained from the literature will be used to show the relationship between the impact of civil war in Sudan and other countries that experience conflicts in their development process.

This research will deploy an independent samples t-test as the standard statistical method for testing the hypothesis. The choice for independent t-test is based on the fact that it is easy to use, and it is suitable for testing two independent samples. In this case, the t-test will help compare economic growth in an economy that has been affected by civil war against an economy that has not been affected by civil war.

The hypothesis is that civil war impacts negatively on the growth of the economy. Data on economic performance of Sudan during civil war will be compared with data on economic performance after post-civil war. Different findings from different researchers will be analyzed in order to develop a conclusion from which best suited recommendations shall be derived.

Therefore, secondary data in the literature will act as the basis on which the findings will be developed and analyzed.

The paper will attempt to estimate the balance between the effects of war on economic growth and how civil war cannot be bluntly blamed for the negative economic growth trends as has been observed by a substantial number of researchers. The paper will utilize information from journals, books, popular media, and other economic growth models.


The stability of a nation deteriorates significantly when people in a country become violent. The wellbeing of economic forces is disrupted when civil war erupts in a country. Many people lose their lives as a result of civil wars. Moreover, the infrastructure of a country is destroyed. In addition, the level of GDP growth drops significantly. In this case, people suffer from lack of basic needs such as shelter, clothing, food and health care.

The productivity of a state then deteriorates, thereby exposing the population to poor living conditions. Therefore, this paper will demonstrate the negative impact of civil war on economic performance.

The paper will provide a basis whereby governments, researchers and analysts should propose solutions in order to address the negative impacts of civil war. As a result, governments would be able to implement measures that would minimize the destructive nature of civil war in conflict-prone countries.

The level of output in a country drops significantly when a civil war erupts. However, physical and human capital is destroyed when a civil war becomes persistent. This form of destruction takes a long time to reverse. There are various negative effects that are associated with internal conflicts.

For example, the destruction that the military carries out when trying to end a civil war reduces the amount of capital in a country. Moreover, the government extends its spending to economic services. In this case, the government invests its funds on the services that are provided by the military and the police (Aldosari 37).

In this perspective, therefore, it is true that the economic consequences of civil war are useful in terms of analysing the economic performance of Sudan. The civil war that took place between 1962 and 1972 characterizes post-independence Sudan. Sudan experienced one of the longest civil wars in Africa.

The civil war that took place in the country led to political instability, violation of property rights, and erosion of fiscal instruments. Moreover, human, physical, and financial resources were directed to the military. The number of war casualties was enormous, thereby leading to reduction in human resources in the country (Elbadawi and Gadir 19).

The military expenses in Sudan as a result of the civil war that took place between 1989 and 1994 made the country experience a 16% decline in investment levels. Moreover, the per capita growth experienced a 2% drop in the same period. However, the investment ratio declined by 196% when the war intensified (Elbadawi and Gadir 23).

The table illustrates Sudan’s five year moving average as a result of the civil war. Before the civil war (1973-1983), the real per capita growth rate was approximately 4.27%. However, the real per capita growth rate went down to 2.11% after the aftermath of the second civil war in Sudan. This is regardless of the oil inflows that were coming into the country.

The per capita growth rate dropped to 2.63% before the inflow of oil investments between 1984 and 1997. Therefore, the war reduced the GDP growth rate of the country by 1.86%.

The impact of oil production on the economic performance of Sudan was realized between 1995 and 1997. The country had become stable at this time. From the table, the marginal difference between the growth rates shows that the production of oil in Sudan minimised the effects of the civil war.

The cost of civil war in Sudan: Foregone per capita growth

Period Designation 5-year moving average per capita growth rate (%) Change in per capita growth rate percentage points) Implied GDP
Growth rate (%)
1963–1972 First civil war 1.52 4.32
1973–1983 Addis Ababa peace interlude 4.24 2.72 7.04
1984–1994 Second civil war without oil 2.11 -2.13 4.91
1984–1997 Second civil war with oil 2.63 -1.86 5.43
1995–1997 Oil and second civil war 4.27 0.03 7.07

Source: (Elbadawi and Gadir 27)

Review of literature

Conflict and economic performance

Demonstrations, strikes and protests take time, money and government effort to terminate them. The government is unable to fund the consumption and production levels in a country when funds are scarce. Therefore, it is true that conflicts should not be entertained since they use the resources that are normally used to fund production processes in a country (Chamarbagwala and Moran 43).

Internal conflicts impact on the overall performance of an economy. For example, people who live in war zones incur injuries, get displaced from their homes and their children are denied opportunities to attend school. As a result, the productivity and earnings of a country go down significantly.

For a country to recover from conflict-related destructions, it should evaluate the economic forces that are affected by the conflicts thoroughly (Chamarbagwala and Moran 48). Moreover, a nation should ensure that internal conflicts do not intensify inequality and poverty since the costs of war are normally felt by the marginalized groups in a country.

Consequently, the government should implement measures to ensure that its citizens do not participate in conflicts. For example, the civil war that took place in Guatemala between 1960 and 1996 limited the accumulation of human capital in the country (Berhanu 43).

Accumulation of human capital is affected when families are displaced and their breadwinners get killed. Therefore, for a country to keep its consumption levels high, it is forced to withdraw its resources from schooling and direct them to basic needs such as health, clothing, shelter, and food. More than 500,000 people were displaced from their homes after the civil war erupted in Guatemala in 1970s (Berhanu 42).

Moreover, more than half of the affected families lost their property and relatives. As a result, children were orphaned when their families were killed. In this case, children were removed from school and taken to work (Evia, Leserna and Skaperdas 34).

In the case of a civil war, males are targeted to prevent them from becoming combatants. However, the most vulnerable groups in a country are those whose livelihoods are affected by a civil war. Studies show that Guatemala’s civil war affected the state of education negatively.

The war deepened poverty levels among the marginalised groups in the country. However, the Guatemala war affected the potential of the human resources significantly since it lasted for 36 years (Chamarbagwala and Moran 44).

On the other hand, the socio-political conflicts that took place in Bolivia also affected the economic performance of the country. The types of conflicts that were observed in the country include demonstrations, road blockades and strikes. All types of conflicts have costs.

Moreover, all resources are directed to military expenses in the case of a civil war. In addition, civil wars reduce the levels of investment in a country, thereby making the level of economic growth decline (Abadia and Gardeazabal 116).

The conflicts that were observed in this country were carried out by organized groups. These groups were formed on the basis of economic, ethnic and social dimensions. They were composed of business groups, unions, ordinary workers, and associations (Aldosari 7).

The acute conflicts that took place in Bolivia in 1970s were related to the struggle for democracy and civil rights. The period between 1978 and 1982 was characterized by social unrests. The conflicts ended when the country was transformed into a democratic state. The world economy deteriorated and natural disasters prevailed during this time, thereby resulting in a series of social unrests in the country.

The social unrests made the country experience hyperinflation. Therefore, the government was forced to end its term and call for fresh elections. The growth of the country was approximately -1.1% between 1978 and 1985 (Evia, Leserna and Skaperdas 45).

Therefore, it is evident that the socio-political instability in the country made the output levels of the country to decline. Therefore, it is true that there is a negative relationship between socio-political conflicts and economic growth.

Nature of civil war in Sudan

According to the CIA World Fact Book (para 8), the civil war in Sudan dates back to the year 1956 when the country attained independence from the United Kingdom. The politics of Sudan have been dominated by military regimes since it gained independence. Most of the regimes favor governments that are Islamic oriented.

According to Flint (32-33), Sudan did not enjoy any stability since its independence and the rest of the 20th century. This denied it an opportunity to develop economic policies that were critical in economic growth and development. The war in the country has been based on the domination of the entire Sudan, North and South, by the forces from Northern Sudan, which is dominated by Arab Muslims.

The Arab Muslims have adopted systems of governance that have been blamed for embracing social, economic, and political dominance of the population in the southern region of the country, whose population is mainly comprised of non-Muslim non-Arabs.

The domination of the southern region is attributed to the variation in infrastructural development between the Northern region and the Southern region of the country. The North, which has acted as the epicenter of the country’s economy, is far much ahead in terms of infrastructural development compared to the Southern region of Sudan, which still suffers from lack of basic infrastructure (Flint 32-33).

Rolandsen (105) observes that the civil war in Sudan began far much earlier before the country attained independence. However, the scale of war was far much lower in the pre-independence Sudan compared to the independent Sudan. In his research, Rolandsen cites the year 1963 as the beginning of the full scale violence in Sudan. The intensity of violence in the country has resulted in economic and social stagnation in the country.

The full scale violence in the country is a restricting factor in the policy environment as it has pressed the government and other agencies operating in the country to focus on other policy areas, which most deal with the contingency instead of the pursuance of economic policies as has been in other countries that have enjoyed political stability in the region.

The question that remains unanswered by researchers is whether the full scale war in the country could have been prevented and what the economic position of Sudan would have been in the current times.

From the year 1983, the effects of the intense war that was witnessed within a period of ten years between 1972 and 1982 were felt all over the country, especially in the Southern region that was the epitome of the war. It is reported that over two million people have died and over four million displaced since the conflict began.

Flint (32-33) noted that most of the country is arid and poses a challenge to the citizens of the country, especially for a country that lies in the region where agriculture is the backbone of most of the national economies in the continent. Therefore, the presence of civil war, according to Flint (32-33), enhances the vulnerability of the population to hunger and famine.

The displacements takes place both internally and externally, where a lot of Sudanese have fled the country and sought refuge in the neighboring countries (Flint 32-33). The ruling party in Sudan, the national Congress Party, which is led by President Umar el-Bashir is comprised of the Islamism party and the military regime.

The current government that has been in power since 1989 came into power through a coup d’état. Therefore, the government is, to a large extent, seen as a regime that is in power only to cater for the interests of the Arabs and the Muslims in the North at the expense of the people in the South.

Parties in the Northern region that are opposed to the political regime of the country have more often than not joined forces with the rebels in the Southern region of the country, thus advancing an anti-government war.

The government is largely seen as an authoritarian regime that has sought to establish an authoritarian rule over the southern region to extract most of the resources in the south, especially oil, which end up benefiting the North (BBC Monitoring para. 3).

In most cases, bloody conflicts are witnessed owing to attacks that are made by the rebels and the resultant counterattacks by the government-backed forces (CIA World Fact Book 614-615).

According to CIA World Fact Book (614-617), a lot of innocent civilians have lost lives, with some losing their livelihoods and turning into internal refugees. The civil strife in Sudan was purely turned into a regional conflict, with the northern part seeking to protect and embrace the autocratic governance and its extortionist tendencies in the Southern regions.

On the other hand, the Southern rebels backed by a few opposition forces from the Northern region have been fighting to free the southern region from the rule of the North. Several negotiations have been staged to aid in attaining a long lasting solution to the conflict, but most of them have only managed to offer temporary solutions.

A substantial number of researches have pointed out that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, commonly referred to as the CPA, is bound to offer a long standing solution to the conflict. However, there are still doubts of whether the conflict can come to a standstill, even amidst the secession of the Southern region from the Northern region.

The level of optimism as it appertains to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is demeaned by the fact that the two countries have not shown positive signs of coming into agreeable terms on how to share resources.

Based on the fact that resource, ethnicity and power are the main factors that have supported the long fight civil war in the country, a number of researchers point to the possibility of continued war and violence especially in the regions that border the two countries of Sudan and Southern Sudan (CIA World Fact Book 614-617; “Close To The Brink’, 53-54).

Flint (32-33) observes that the current government of Sudan under the leadership of Umar el-Bashir is blamed for the economic crimes that have been reported in the Southern part of the country by human international human rights organizations and civil society groups. Armed conflict in Sudan is bound to continue amidst the calls and support that is being embraced to see the southern part separated from the northern region.

There is still a huge disagreement over the modalities of transferring oil from the north, Khartoum, to the South (Patey 618). For a long time, the oil resources, most of which are found in the South, have been mined and piped to Khartoum where it is refined and distributed in the economy.

Patey (617) terms the civil war in southern Sudan as a resource curse. This comes from the analysis of the political oil economy of Sudan that has a substantive potential to grow, yet the economy has remained immersed in immense conflict over the precious resource.

The government of Sudan at all levels, national, regional and local, has failed to stop the conflicting trends. This makes it difficult to control the exploration of the resources for the benefit of the population (Wennmann 266).

Deng (4) brings out a number of effects that he relates to the civil war in Sudan. These effects include: diminishing fiscal resources in the country and the destruction of financial management systems, reduction of service delivery capacities, destruction of physical infrastructure, and limitation of the human capital potential through displacement.

The other effect is the weakening of networks that support civil engagement and the weakening of structures of governance. This reduces the potential of governance institutions to embrace open and accountable standards in political and economic administration.

Overview of the economy of Sudan and the Civil War

Sudan has had a struggling economy owing to the nature of violence and destruction that have resulted from the long held civil war in the country. As it is, agriculture is considered to be the main economic activity in the country by contributing to about 37.8 percent to the total GDP of Sudan (Mohamed and Sidiropoulos 3).

However, the climatic condition in the country, which is semi-arid, is a major impediment to sustainable agriculture in the country. On the other side, the country is endowed with a number of natural resources, majorly oil and natural gas. Abdelmoneium (64) noted that the expansiveness of the retardation of economic growth in Sudan is caused by not only the issue of civil war, but also the natural disasters like drought.

However, he alludes that natural disaster is only a factor that increases the intensity of the impacts that are derived from the civil war. Just as a substantial number of other researchers, Abdelmoneium views the civil war as the main factor that impedes the pursuance of favorable economic policies in the country, thereby resulting in the current economic conditions.

The CIA World Fact Book (2003) indicates that since the year 1997, the country has been making efforts to put into practice the macroeconomic reforms that were developed by the International Monetary Fund. However, the country still experiences formidable economic challenges, most notably a low percentage of per capita output. Infrastructural investments still remain to be an area of challenge (Keen and Lee 9-10).

For more than one decade, a high percentage of Sudan’s national income was derived from export of crude oil. The first exports of crude oil to be made by Sudan were transacted in 1999. The Gross Domestic Product of Sudan as at the end of 2001 was at 5.1 percent. This GDP was based on increase in the production of oil, expansion of export processing in the country and the revival of light industries in the country.

However, agriculture, which is considered to be the most vital sector as far as the support of livelihood in the country is concerned, still faces a lot of risks ranging from drought to the chronic instability that comes from the war. Therefore, a large percentage of the total population of Sudan lives below the poverty line.

This is an indicator of a poor state of economic welfare, irrespective of the state of economic growth that was reported in 2002. In addition, it is vital to make an observation that since the year 2002, a heightened scale of violence has been witnessed in Sudan culminating into a series of negotiations that resulted in the famous Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CIA World Fact Book 53).

Sudan has shrunken and underdeveloped financial markets because of the economic instability that is attributed to many years of conflict in the country.

Though a number of economic policies have been pursued in the country, the platform on which they have been pursued has been subjected to criticism by a substantial number of commentators. Formal structural economic programs, which are the basis on which economic policies are developed and implemented, have not been developed by the Sudan government (Mohamed and Sidiropoulos 2-3).

The economic costs of the civil war in Sudan

According to Frontiers Economies Limited, Institute for Security Studies, Society for International Development, and AEGIS (7), Sudan has lost a lot in terms of real GDP due to the expanded effects of the civil war on economic progress.

Oil contributes 10-20% of Sudan’s gross domestic product. Therefore, an outbreak of war in the country with total shutting of oil exploration in the country is likely to result in a 10 to 20 percent loss in GDP, which is a loss of between 6.5 billion $ dollars to 13 billion $ dollars. An elimination of such an amount from the economy has a huge economic implication for the country.

It implies that the government is extremely constricted when it comes to revenue and expenditure on critical functions. The extrapolated cost of conflict of the economy of Sudan is represented table 1 below.

Table 1: The cost of civil war to Sudan (as a percentage of annual GDP 2010)

Over 10 years, 2010 real US$ billion Over 25 years, 2010 real US$ billion
Baseline: peace scenario
Low conflict scenario 32.5 (54%) 458.3 (697%)
Medium conflict scenario 87.3 (133%) 576.7 (877%)
High conflict scenario 116.0 (176%) 821.3 (1249%).
Baseline: low conflict scenario
Medium conflict scenario 52.1 (79.2%) 118.4 (180.1%)
High conflict scenario 80.8 (122.8%) 362.9 (552.1%).

Source: Frontiers Economies Limited, Institute for Security Studies, Society for International Development, and AEGIS (2010), 7.

Oil is a critical resource in Sudan; if it is not extracted due to the war, then it could be extracted after the war. This means that the economic benefits that are aligned to the extraction of oil can be postponed to the future when the full extraction of oil is done. However, it should be noted that the other structural problems that emanated from the war keep swelling and increasing in size and scale.

When the country reaches a point where the war has stopped and the extraction of oil is at its maximum, the scale of other socioeconomic problems will have also expanded to the level that the income from the oil will not be enough to offset the problems. This is bound to leave the country with lots of deficits in its budget.

Effect of Civil War on Economic Growth

The performance of an economy deteriorates when civil war erupts. In this case, people lose their lives whereas the infrastructure of a nation gets destroyed. Moreover, the legal state of a nation becomes weak. In addition, people’s rights to own property are violated. Civil war also introduces uncertainty into an economy, thereby making it risky for investors to establish their businesses in a conflict-prone country (Azam 15).

There are various ways through which civil war impacts on the wellbeing of a country. For example, civil war limits the growth of capital stock. It also forces investors to depart from a country, thereby reducing the level of investment. Moreover, civil war worsens the government’s fiscal balance (Thornton and Ekelund 5). As a result, a country’s GDP growth starts deteriorating.

Studies reveal that civil war can either take part in one part of a country or it can spread to all parts of a nation. Civil war leads to a large number of civilian deaths. For example, civil wars that took place in Sierra Leone, Guatemala and Mozambique led to many civilian deaths. In this case, it is true that the civil wars that require high level of military recruitment lead to massive death of people (Thornton and Ekelund 12).

Therefore, it is true that civil war damages the economic forces of a country. The goal of this paper, therefore, is to discuss the economic effect of civil war on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of a country. The researcher will conduct a study on Sudan and discuss how the civil war led to the deterioration of economic forces in the country.

Indirect impacts of the civil war on economic growth

A lot of children in Sudan still face a lot of challenges appertaining to the access to education in the 21st century where education is considered to be a major force in economic development. Abdelmoneium (64) conducted research to ascertain the extent to which the civil war in Sudan impedes the quality and standards of education in the country.

He reported a higher rate of school dropout among children who are displaced due to the civil war. The trends that are witnessed in the education sector, more so for children from families that have been displaced from the south where the level of violence for the past one decade has been wanting.

Notable among the trends is the delay for most children in attending school, where most children are caught up with age while in the lower grades. The other critical thing is the strain of most of the displaced families to meet their needs, which forces children to play the role of helping to fetch incomes for their families. This observation is based on the findings of the case studies that were staged by Abdelmoneiu.

As observed by Abdelmoneium (64), children are forced to spend a substantial amount of time working to help raise the scale of income in their families. The implication of these findings is that most children from the displaced families can hardly continue with secondary education because of the financial status of most their families.

It is critical to observe that catering for the primary education needs of the children from the displaced families is quite difficult. This slowly compounds the probability of the economy of Sudan to grow as it encourages the growth of a population that is either semi-literate or illiterate.

Warburton (51) sighs that a comparison of expenditure on military interventions in Africa and the developed world depicts a worrying trend. Just as it is in many other conflicting states in Africa, a lot of resources in Sudan have been spent on military functions at the expense of economic programs.

Unfortunately, the resources that are vital for economic development are diverted to war in the country as each faction seeks to overcome the actions of the other faction.

According to Warburton (51-52), the amount of money that has been spent in peace keeping efforts in Sudan is enough to instate meaningful economic programs in the country and transform the economy of Sudan into a middle income economy. Bhaskar (para. 1) noted that the renewed conflict between the north and the south could cost approximately 1 billion dollars in peace keeping efforts.

War, exclusion and regional marginalization

Deng (6) observes that the level of regional marginalization cannot be ignored. There is a huge gap of development in the country, which creates a development vacuum. Some regions in the country have been totally ignored by the government because of the supposed fact that these regions show opposition to the government through provision of a base for rebel activities.

This induces two kinds of poverty in the country, which in turn imposes stagnation on the growth of the economy. These two kinds of poverty are: the conflict-induced poverty, which comes from the social, economic and political exclusion. This results in structural poverty, which is founded in the nature of socio-economic policies that are implemented in the country.

Therefore, the per capita GDP of the country cannot be addressed if the structural changes concerning the problem of marginalization of a fraction of the population are not enforced. However, it should be noted that such changes cannot be enforced, unless an amicable solution to the conflict in the country is reached. Exclusion and marginalization are impacts of the civil war in the country (Deng 6-7).

Deng (53) terms poverty as one of key functions of marginalization. This comes from his attempts to analyze the civil war in Sudan and the role it has played in enhancing economic problems in Sudan. Deng argued that the attainment of economic development in Sudan depends on sustained peace and the subsequent eradication of poverty.

The politics of exclusion cannot be easily avoided because of the competitive forces in the country. In the case of the civil war in Sudan, the politics of exclusion have been advanced by the government as it seeks to monopolize the political and economic power among the elites in the country (Berhanu 335).

Synthesis and analysis of critical facts

From the wide literature collected in the paper, it can be concluded that the civil war in Sudan is a complex phenomenon. The complexity of the civil war in Sudan is brought about by the fact that the war has dragged for over 60 years.

The war revolves around two issues: the imbalance over the distribution of natural resources in the country and the issue of ethnicity and religion; the Arabs in the Northern region and the black population in the southern region. The role of the economic and political factors in the formation and sustenance of the civil war in Sudan has not been deeply explored.

Most researchers only seek to justify economic retardation in Sudan by making use of the civil war as one of the main causative factors of the contemporary economic situation in the country. However, recent research points out that the economic state of the country has been greatly influenced by the state of security witnessed over the last 60 years.

First of all, Sudan has never enjoyed a long period of stability like other countries in the region. This can be justified by the manner in which the regime that is currently in power attained power. War has been the order of the day. It is important to dwell on the three effects of war, which can be equated to the undesirable state of economic growth in the country.

First is the fact that the civil war in the country has been chronic. This means that there is no particular point in time when the country has been considered secure for investment. This is one factor that has shunned away investors who are interested in investing in the economy of Sudan.

It is only in the recent times where external investors have begun entering the country. This is attributed to a certain period of calmness that has been witnessed prior to and after the signing of the CPA. The country presents a lot of economic opportunities for investors, most of whom have decided to take the risk.

The second critical factor about the civil war in the country in relation to economic growth in the country is that the civil war has been behind massive destruction of property in the country. In a number of cases, oil wells in the country have been attacked and set on fire by arsonists; rebels resulting in the destruction of large volumes of crude oil, which is a precious resource.

The destruction of property and resources, which are vital for economic growth, is a hindrance to economic growth. A critical concern here is the sustained violence, which implies continued destruction of resources and property.

The third feature of the civil war in Sudan is that the scale of violence has been quite high, in most cases resulting in deaths and massive displacement of people. As observed earlier in the paper, the displacement takes place both internally and externally. Sudan is one of the countries, besides Somalia, which have exacerbated the refugee problem in the East and Central regions of Africa.

The internal and external investment in the country is an economic parity in the sense that the local economic bases, which are critical building blocks of the national economy, are suppressed. People live in fear due to the scale of violence witnessed between the standoff between the rebels and the government forces.

In addition, reports have indicated that civilians have been the targets of a number of revenge attacks. Most of the population in the underdeveloped south spends most of the time in the refugee camps, meaning that they cannot exercise agriculture and set up small scale businesses.

The other point that can be captured from research is that the civil war in Sudan has had a lot of secondary effects. These effects have indirect, yet significant, effects on the growth of the economy. Focusing on the issue of displacement, it can be noted that the basic features of economic growth like investment in education cannot be effectively deployed.

The conditions of poverty are quite high, especially for the families that have been displaced internally. A lot of time is spent on the search for resources to sustain the livelihoods, instead of concentrating on the education of children. Therefore, education for the children is not considered to be a priority to these families.

What comes out of this is that the levels of illiteracy keep going high. It is quite daunting to attain the goals of economic development with higher levels of illiteracy among a nations’ population since education is considered to be one of the denominators of economic development.

The instruments of economic growth cannot be instituted in a situation where the revenues of a country are constricted. This is in reference to the fact that about 10-20 percent of the GDP of Sudan comes from the oil.

Therefore, the prevalence of conflict in the country that, in most cases, impedes exploitation of oil resources results in deep cuts in the total national revenue. This, in turn, necessitates cuts on basic expenditures. In this case, the economy experiences larger deficits, which makes it vulnerable when it comes to the balance of trade and payments.

One of the critical questions that need to be explored by the researchers of the contemporary political economy of Sudan is whether economic policies can be effectively pursued given the situation in the country. The pursuance of economic policies needs a sober environment in which genuine economic policies can be pursued.

However, the situation in Sudan is still tense, and more often than not, violence keeps erupting, making it difficult for the country to develop and implement economic policies that can help to transform the economy into a middle income economy. The rate of economic production in the country still remains low, with most of the production activities concentrated in the North while the south has been economically marginalized.

The economic welfare of the majority of the population dwelling in the Southern part of the country is poor, thus it is an impediment to economic development in the country. An observation of the northern side of the country alone can give a different picture of the status of the economy.

This resonates from the fact that a lot of heavy industries like the oil refineries were staged in the North, thereby giving an opportunity to the North to develop its infrastructure and supporting economic growth in the region.

Conclusion and policy recommendations


From the analysis of the findings, it can be concluded that the civil war in Sudan is chronic. The war has dragged for a long period of time. The longevity of the war implies longevity of the effects of the war on the economy of Sudan. The economy of Sudan has remained vulnerable throughout the course of the war. Sudan’s civil war has been more lethal compared to other conflicts in the region.

The level of lethality has been aided by the fact that the war combines the struggle for resources, differences in ethnicities, differences in religion, as well as varied opinions about the nature of governance. A combination of these factors has made the war more complex and difficult to stop, making a number of researchers to term it as a chronic war.

Looking at the statistics of the direct impacts of the civil war, over two million deaths and a displacement of over four million people, one is left wondering how the economy of Sudan has survived. It depicts the scale of violence and the disruption of development in the country.

A number of regions that are termed as hotspots of the civil war, like Darfur and other border regions between the Northern part of Sudan and the Sothern part remain unexploited. Oil rich regions have remained unexploited because of the disagreement over which side of the country needs to occupy and explore the resources in the region. An example is the oil rich region of Abyei.

From the analysis, therefore, it is true that civil war leads to destruction of infrastructure in a country. Moreover, it leads to loss of human resources, thereby making the performance of a state deteriorate. Schools are closed and breadwinners of families get killed.

As a result, children are forced to leave school to look for means of survival. Moreover, institutions and corporations are destroyed, thereby bringing down the productivity of a country. Today, Sudan is one of the poorest states in Africa because the civil war that took place in the country led to destruction of economic forces (Berhanu 27). The economic performance of the country is poor, despite the fact that it is rich in oil.

As a result, it is vital for the government of Sudan to implement measures that will unite the efforts of the people in the country in order to improve performance of the economy.

The government should also improve the quality of education in the country in order to improve the productivity of human resources. Moreover, government of Sudan should improve the infrastructure of the country in order to attract foreign investors, who would boost the country’s production potential.

Policy recommendations

For the past one decade, there have been a lot of efforts to try and establish calmness in Sudan. This is due to the realization that the opportunity of the country to embrace economic growth purely lies in the pacification of the country. There is a need to embrace a number of things for the country to fully retrace the footsteps toward realization of economic growth.

The target economic growth rate in Sudan can only be attained through a combination of policies, social, economic and political, which are vital as far as the creation of a favorable atmosphere for development is concerned.

The first step is to encourage external investors to take advantage of the economic opportunities that prevail in the country. This is something that is already taking place in the country where a lot of investors from Africa are wooed to invest in a wide number of economic sectors in the country, like financial, business stores and oil sectors.

This is a critical recipe for improving the per capita income and improving the economic development index of the country. The rationale behind this move is that the country is bound to experience a spillover effect, where economic investments can be a key to rooting out war and violence in the country.

Investors will often seek to protect their ventures and enterprises in the country by promoting the state of security and creating an opportunity for the population of the country to re-establish their economic base. In the end, the country will fully concentrate on economic progress and the elimination of the conflict.

The other step that needs to be undertaken by the government of Sudan is to embrace social development by investing in the population. This needs to begin with rehabilitation of the displaced population and reigniting hope in the population by providing them with aid to help the displaced families to start businesses at the small scale level. The best way to attain economic growth is empowering the population at all levels.

The government should strive to establish schools and other critical facilities, like healthcare centers and hospitals that are essential for the survival and re-establishment of the livelihood of the population.

These can aid in improving the socio-economic state of the population, thus making them critical assets as far as the economic growth of the country is concerned. It is one way of reinventing the human capital in the country amidst the rise in investment in the country. As the situation is, the displaced population still remains a large burden and a liability to economic progress in the country.

Instead of critiquing the country, the international economic institutions can also be key players in creating the desirable base for economic development in Sudan. These institutions include the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The institutions can support the creation of an economic regime through helping the country develop and implement structural economic policies that can help embrace economic growth, while at the same time limiting the deficit in the balance of payments and balance of trade.

Imposing the structural adjustments program to a country that is trying to unchain itself from the effects of the long held civil war can be economically disastrous.

The other thing that needs to be given attention is the possibility of transforming the war-based institutions in the country into desirable governance institutions. Most notable among the war-based institutions are the violent rebel groups. Most of these groups can only sustain their activities through violence and a set of other illegal activities.

The conversion of these groups into governance institutions is a key to embracing inclusion in governance and eliminating incidences of violence and economic atrocities in the country. In this way the groups can be meaningful in the economy by helping to mold a political atmosphere that supports economic investments.

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