The 2019 Sudanese revolution has offered a genuine possibility of stability and peace, and improved humanitarian situation, for the first time in decades. This is, however, highly fragile due to an ongoing and increasingly severe economic crisis, protracted displacement, political threats to the transitional government, and now Covid-19.
This article analyzes the evolution of protest participation in Sudan from 2011 to 2018 using the data provided by the Arab Barometer Surveys. It finds that participation evolved substantially in both size and demographic determinants, reflecting the strong deterioration of the population’s socio-economic conditions over the last decade. The Arab Barometer surveys are the only cross-country source of data available for Arab countries. They were collected over five different waves in the last two decades.
One year has passed since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir by a military coup ensuing from several months of nationwide protests. Raising from the ashes of a thirty-year authoritarian regime, Sudan’s new transitional government appointed in September has taken its first steps on the uncharted path to democracy, achieving encouraging success while shedding light on the magnitude of the challenges ahead.
“The people of Sudan have suffered immensely, and this revolution will not be complete unless we recognise the immense grievances of those who have been systematically targeted by those who were responsible for their protection”. The peace process with the Sudanese armed movements is the “main priority” for the transitional government, according to Abdalla Hamdok’s recent words, filled with strong symbolic and political meaning.
One year after the military coup that unseated former President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan ranks among the lowest positions in the Human Development Index list (HDI).
Only a few short months following the one year anniversary of the Sudanese revolution, Khartoum is facing a global pandemic and a deteriorating economic situation. Over the last decade, Sudanese people have been suffering from inflation and gas shortages as a result of losing 75 percent of its oil revenue that was assumed by South Sudan after the separation of the two states.
One year ago, the mass mobilization of Sudanese civil society led to Omar al-Bashir’s removal from office, marking the end of one of the longest-ruling regimes in Africa. The aftermath of the revolution saw the unfolding of a social, political and economic crisis with a growing risk of violent destabilization. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing priorities of external actors are adding further uncertainty to the country's future.
While there is never a good time for a country to face an epidemic, it could not come at a worse time for a country in transition like Sudan. Prior to the first cases of the coronavirus confirmed on 13 March, the country already faced a humanitarian and economic crisis. In February, the inflation rate was at 71% and prices were double those cited in 2019, according to the US-funded food monitoring body, the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS).
Africa is undergoing several major transitions that will shape the future of the continent. They include demographic, developmental, economic, technological, socio-political and environmental shifts which are dynamic and highly interdependent. Overall, there is a positive trend. Yet this trend is uneven between and within countries, and vulnerable to both external and internal disruptions. There are a series of structural hurdles that African countries need to address to ensure greater stability and prosperity for all.