Dr Bashàïr Ahmed, Shabaka, and Paul Asquith, African Foundation for Development/SLE, Humboldt University, Berlin, recently spoke at the Governance for Development in Africa Initiative webinar series on Sudan at the crossroads: hopes and fears for the future.
Following the popular revolution and the end of military rule in Sudan in 2019, there were great hopes for change in the future, both within the country and across the Sudanese diaspora.
Since then, in 2020 Sudan has been buffeted first by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by severe flooding in August 2020, and the diaspora have played a crucial role in mobilising development and most recently humanitarian assistance in the country. Most recently, political instability and the threat of civil war in Ethiopia risks unleashing a new refugee crisis In Sudan, at a time when the country is struggling to cope with existing complex emergencies.
Bashair and Paul discussed these massive economic and humanitarian challenges facing Sudan. COVID-19 is taking its toll with 38% of Khartoum residents reportedly having the virus, putting increasing pressure on an already struggling health system. Within Sudan’s diaspora community, losses have also been felt as many the Sudanese doctors in the UK were amongst the early COVID-19 casualties. Alongside health, investment in training and job creation for the youth is another critical area needing focus to build hope for the future.
Policies are needed to build on the recently signed peace agreement; all actors across all regions need to be engaged with a focus on building equitable support across the country. Bashair believes these policies need to engage the diaspora holistically considering the humanitarian, financial and development needs of Sudan.