A blessing or a curse?

With mismanagement, corruption and unethical practices, we look at what oil really means for the people of Sudan.

As south Sudan approaches probable independence, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have started discussions to resolve disputes over borders, leadership – and finances.

Sudan’s biggest asset is oil, representing about 90 per cent of the nation’s export earnings. Around 400,000 barrels are shipped every day, mostly to Asia’s increasingly energy-hungry nations – China and India.

Since the 2005 peace agreement, that wealth has been split equally with each territory taking 50 per cent of the revenue. For the north, it makes up 65 per cent of its budget, but the south is almost entirely dependent on the oil money – it accounts for an estimated 98 per cent of its earnings.

Despite its oil revenue, Sudan is $38bn in debt – a burden the north has reportedly promised to take on in its entirety should the south secede.

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