Poverty in Sudan is widespread, and has reached an alarming rate. Although the country experienced some form of economic growth that saw poverty level decrease by about 20% to an estimated 60% currently, regional disparities still persist. Sudan continues to remain one of the low-income countries in the region and is ranked 147th on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The biggest challenge is that the country is food-deficient. Currently Sudan relies on the international community to feed her citizens. Early this year, great efforts were made to provide relief food to the poor to avert starvation (McElhinney, 2012). This effort was undertaken by relief agencies in conjunction with the international community. This places other countries in a great financial strain as donors also grapple with the effects of the recent financial crisis.
Sudan has been in a conflict for over 20 years. The civil turmoil in the country has led to loss of close to 1.6 million people. The war had a devastating effect on the country’s economy and the well-being of its people (Nguka & Odebero, 2011).The conflict, which played a leading role in the poverty levels in Sudan, had its origin in poor management and allocation of resources between urban and rural areas. In addition, biased government policies also had a great impact on the state of people of Sudan (Rone, 2003). The apathy by the government on its own people created an economy that relied on exports and the lease of natural resources. In addition, development stagnated in most part leading to widespread poverty (Nguka & Odebero, 2011).
The most vulnerable areas are those affected by drought and conflict. These include the South and the Darfur region. One of the key factors that have fueled poverty levels is isolation. Areas that are located away from the main thoroughfares have limited access to social services as well as markets. The elderly and the disabled people in the community suffer more. In addition, women and girls are the most disadvantaged in this country. According to Bassett & Winder (2010, p. 157), about 30% of girls in Sudan have no access to formal education. Moreover, thousands of children are battling with malnutrition. According to Dipiazza (2006), most children spend their time scavenging the ground and nearby trees looking for something to eat. According to The World Bank (2012), many children resort to eating leaves since it is the closest thing to a meal that they can find easily. This is a great shame to a country that has more resources to feed itself and develop it infrastructure.
The health of the people of Sudan is under a big threat due to poverty. Malnutrition is the order of the day as many people lack food to eat. In addition, when it rains, a critical need for mosquito nets also arises. Since most people cannot afford a meal, leave a lone a mosquito net, the danger of diseases such as malaria becomes apparent. Malaria is among the biggest killer-disease in Africa. In addition, Prostitution becomes a “viable option” as girls trade in sex to meat their basic needs as well as the needs of their families. This increases the threat of HIV/AIDS transmission.
In summary, the history of Sudan is marred by civil war that lasted over 20 years. The immediate effects of the war are evident as the disparities persist in the region. Development is uneven because areas perceived as enemy territories received little or no attention from the government. International operations were hindered because of the conflict. Millions of people currently live below the poverty line. Access to clean and safe drinking water are a preserve for the rich. Most children are out of schools as families struggle to provide for their families. The greatest challenge is for the international community as well as concerned government to act immediately and empower people. Giving the poor food is a short-term measure. People should be empowered through education so that they can feed their families and sustain themselves. Poverty is a great challenge to me and I would like to take an active role in the transformation of this great country. Most people would agree that years of war have not yielded any positive results in any country, expect disaster. This is one aspect that I would love to do to help the people in this part of the world. Without education, it is impossible to undo the yoke of poverty.