Sudan is a country in North Africa, which shocked the world in the Darfur crisis. It is considered part of the Middle East politically, even though it doesn't belong there geographically. The population is recorded around 30 million people. Most tribes in the country have been Arabized and Arabic and Arab culture predominates the surrounding area.
Over 97 percent of the population of Sudan adheres to Islam, making it the dominating religion. As it happens the world's longest river the Nile, divides the country between the east and west side. The people of Sudan have a long history intertwined with Egypt, which it was united with politically over several periods.
Economy torn with conflicts
After gaining independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956, Sudan suffered a devastating seventeen years of civil war during the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972), followed by numerous ethnic, religious and economic conflicts which emerged from the conflict. The controversial issues diminished growth at a very low level of per capita even with the huge oil profits produced in the country.
In any case, the economy in Sudan has been slowly growing over the last ten years, and according to a World Bank report the overall growth in GDP in 2010 was 5.2 percent compared to 2009 growth of 4.2 percent. The oil production naturally drove most of the country economic growth. The growth was sustained even during the crisis in Darfur and a period of southern autonomy preceding South Sudan's independence.
Agriculture remains the main source of income and employment for the most people, hiring of over 80% of Sudanese. In total, it makes up a third of the economic sector. Rich mineral resources available in Sudan show much potential to extend the economy growth further, once the industry necessary for processing is developed in the area. Petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper and aluminum are just some of the resources to be exploited in the near future of Sudan.
South Sudan independence
After decades of conflict with the ruling Islamic north, Sudan's southern provinces became on 9 July 2011 an independent nation. South Sudan with its largely non-Muslim population, should be a contrast to the Islamic north Sudan governed by President Omar al-Bashir. It is governed by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, the political wing of the rebel army that fought with the north before a peace accord was signed in 2005.
The main goal of the new government is to rebuild a war-ravaged country, with the focus on constructing a functioning capital in Juba. During the decades of bloody conflict many people fled the country, from religious or tribal persecution. There is still a large number of population in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.