Location and population
Sudan lay in Africa. It shares borders with Egypt, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Sudan is the largest country in Africa and the 9th largest in the world, covering 1 million square miles.
The river Nile flows through the country, flowing into the largest man-made lake in the world “Nubia”.
The capital of Sudan is Khartoum.The population is estimated 42,272,000
History/Religion and Language
The first known civilization to inhabit the present Sudan were Meroitic people, who lived in the area between the Atbara and Nile river, three Christian kingdoms came in power at that time (Nobatia, Makurra, and Alwa) and ruled the region for several hundred years before the Arabs arrived, bringing along the Islamic faith with them. Throughout the next seven centuries, Christianity gradually started to die as more Arabs immigrated to the area meanwhile gaining new converts.
In the 1800s, slave trading have been a striving business in the area. I the 1900s the Egyptians used the Sudanese slaves to work as soldiers. Arab and European traders who came to the area looking ivory established slave trade market. This continued until the twentieth century that the slave trade was finally abolished.
Sudan witnessed many invasions by the Turks, Egyptians and the English, until eventually it got its independence on the 01st of January1956.
The official language in Sudan is Arabic, in addition to over a 100 local dialects spoken by the many different tribes.
Sudan is the 25 poorest countries in the world. 80% of labour force works in agriculture. Only 10% of arable land is cultivated. The main corps produced is (millet, groundnuts, sesame seed, corn, wheat, and fruits, dates, mangoes, guavas, bananas, and citrus).
The government owns and operates the country’s largest farm, a cotton plantation in the central El Geziera region. Cotton is Sudan’s primary export, accounting more than quarter of foreign currency that centres the country. The main exports are Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Egypt, and France.
Crude Oil and petroleum, cotton, gold, sorghum, peanuts, gum Arabic, sugar, meat, hides, live animals and sesame seeds.
Oil and petroleum products, oil pipeline, pumping and refining equipment, chemical products and equipment, wheat and wheat flour, transport equipment, food, tea, agricultural inputs and machinery, industrial inputs and manufactured goods. These products mainly come from France, Germany, Japan, and China.
Food and Culture
Only 25% of the population live in cities or towns; the remaining 75% live in rural areas.
Sudanese always starts the day with a cup of tea, and breakfast is eaten around late- morning. In general, meat is expensive and is not consumed often; however for honouring a special guest, sheep are killed for feasts.
Again greeting between different sexes has to be played by ear and depending on the person's religion. However, most Sudanese women do shake hands with men, but it’s better to be safe and wait for a hand to be offered first. Also most families sit together and share the eating area with both sexes.
Businessmen should wear a suite and businesswomen can wear a business suite or a long skirt. Business women need to dress modestly. Also stating clearly to your business host the gender of the person they are meeting could be a good idea especially if it is a female. English is largely spread in business; however learning a few Arabic words might be preserved as a good gesture on your behalf. Punctuality is not a big issue, but a courtesy phone call when late is not a bad idea.
Patience and politeness are a must, again as many other Arabic countries the meeting could be interrupted many times by people who would just come in to discuss their own business, however the meeting will just be picked up where it was interrupted as soon as the person leaves. Starting business through introduction is always helpful at developing trust quicker!!
Business cards need to be translated at the back in Arabic.