This posting examines the paradoxes of the 2000s: the decade of Sudan’s prosperity and hopes for peace.

The key peace agreements: the 2002 “Burgenstock” ceasefire for the Nuba Mountains and the Machakos Protocol, the 2003-04 Protocols signed in Naivasha and Nairobi, the 2005 CPA itself, the 2006 Juba Declaration, the Abuja Darfur Peace Agreement and the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement, were all signed during the fastest period of budgetary expansion.

Figure 1: Government revenue, spending and peace agreements

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Source: World Bank datasets

Heralded as “Sudan’s second independence,” the CPA was a fundamentally ambiguous document, as symbolized by the divergent implications of its name in English and Arabic. To English speakers—such as the mediators and their supporters—“comprehensive” implied that all issues had been addressed and that it was, in spirit and potential, an all-inclusive agreement. To Arabic speakers, the word shamil—“comprehensive”—implied something wholly different: total in the sense of totalitarian, exclusive, and closed. The key question was whether it would prove to be an instrument of democratic transformation or a carve-up between rent-seeking political elites? Unfortunately, it was mainly the latter.

Figure 2: Current and capital spending

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Source: IMF datasets. Amounts in SDG millions.

The great majority of the increase in government spending was on salaries, subsidies and transfers to the states. And most of the state spending—including in Southern Sudan—was also on salaries.

Sudan’s peace dividend was spent most on absorbing large numbers of people into government employment, especially by setting up new layers of government. The payroll was a patronage system.

Government spending, which had been under tight control for the 1990s, shot up much faster than GDP. It rose from under 10% of GDP to almost 25%.

Figure 3: Government revenue and spending as percentage of GDP

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Source: World Bank datasets

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2 Responses to (5) Visualizing Sudan: Paradoxes of the CPA Interim Period

  1. PStu says:

    Do your expenditure numbers include the large transfers from Khartoum to Juba during the interim period? Similarly, how have you accounted for secession’s effect on the data series. I’ve been trying to deal with these series, myself, and it is difficult to tease out the underlying Northern Sudan data from the pre-secession series.

  2. Profile photo of Alex DeWaal Alex DeWaal says:

    These figures do include transfers to the Government of Southern Sudan. In Post 8 I will present disaggregated data that allow us to see the impacts of secession more clearly.

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