Following the 2019 April revolution, Sudan now finds itself in the middle of a profound and uncertain political transition. Should the transition succeed, the country could move in directions that are novel in Sudan’s history. Should it fail, state fragmentation and new civil war could follow, with consequences not only for Sudan but for the wider region as well.
Developments since the overthrow of President Bashir have shown that the transition is painful. The protracted economic crisis that began under the former regime is worsening. The country’s elites are still divided. Power remains contested, not only between the civilian and security elements that currently share power, but also between multiple political actors, parties and armed groups trying to establish their place in the new political-military order being forged in Khartoum. Devastating floods and the Covid-19 outbreak have further complicated the process.
The external dimension of the transition has received less attention but is significant. External actors play an important role in shaping the outcome of Sudan’s revolution. The nature of these external interests and ways in which they interact with internal processes in Sudan’s divided polity form the subject of this paper.
About the author, Gunnar M. Sørbø
Anthropologist focusing on development; conflict and peacebuilding; social impact assessment (incl. resettlement); agricultural and pastoral systems; and regional analysis and economic adaptations.
Social anthropologist focusing on development policy and planning; conflict and peacebuilding; social impact assessment (incl. resettlement); agricultural and pastoral systems; and regional analysis and economic adaptations.
Sørbø is an experienced team leader for policy-oriented reviews and evaluations, often with international participation and for many different clients. Before joining CMI as director, he was the first director of the Centre for Development Studies, University of Bergen. He has held positions as trustee or member of several boards, including the Norwegian Agency for International Development, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Livestock Centre for Africa, the Research Council of Norway (Division of Environment and Development) and The Rafto Foundation for Human Rights. During 1993-95, Sørbø was a member of the North-South/Aid Commission appointed by the Norwegian Government.