Rapid, unorganised, sometimes unauthorised urban growth (urban sprawl)
has become a prominent feature of developing countries, and the
Sudan is no exception. This urban growth is generally measured by
increases in area and density more than by functional development.
Rural mass exodus to Sudanese urban centres is attributed mainly
to geographically and socially uneven development and the concomitant
depression of rural ecosystems and communities, the long civil war
and armed conflicts, natural disasters like drought and famine,
and the failure of government economic policies. The number of displaced
people has been estimated by the Commission for Relief and Rehabilitation
at 4,104,970 of whom 1.8 million are in Greater Khartoum (El Battahani
et al, 1998: 42-3) and about 2 million others are in other urban
National governments adopted, to varying degrees, a policy of self-reliance.
Weak infrastructure development encouraged the concentration of
industries, services and administration in already existing towns.
The urban process gained momentum thereafter. The urban population
in 1993 was more than 7 times its size in 1955 and will be more
than 12 times that size by the end of 2002, while the total population
in 1993 was less than 3 times its 1955 size. In terms of general
socio-economic development, the vast area of the country and transport
difficulties have encouraged the emergence and subsequent growth
of regional and local urban centres. Variations in the rate of growth
reflect the general urbanisation trend and, more importantly, the
regional and local factors pertaining to population displacement,
eg natural hazards in the east and west, famine in the east, south
and west, and war and armed tribal conflicts in the south and west.
In their quest to achieve socio–economic development, national
governments have since independence resorted to short-term planning.
The various plans aimed at the expansion and intensification of
agriculture, import-substitution industrialisation, building of
the infrastructure and provision of basic services. Only limited
success was achieved. The present regime has striven for the reorganisation
of economy and society on Islamic principles and values, and the
general situation has worsened.
The current socio-economic situation is affected mainly by the globalisation
process and the liberalisation policies now adopted. The major impacts
of these external and internal factors may be summarised as follows
(Eltayeb, 2001: 2-3):
economic embargo has sharply reduced the inflow of aid and loans.
and the burden of debt services and repayment of loans.
Islamist, totalitarian regime has given birth to political instability
not conducive to development.
disasters, eg drought and desertification, have reduced productivity.
long-lived civil war depletes the already meagre assets and resources.
civil service has been significantly weakened because appointment
and promotion have become political commitments and are not made
on the basis of qualifications and competence.
without adequate resources has significantly increased taxes and
fees levied by regional governments on already poor communities.
collapse of many enterprises because of their weak competitiveness.
gaps between imports and exports due to heavy dependence on primary
inflation rates (101 per cent in 1995) result in lower real incomes.
has increased unemployment.
has seriously cut back public expenditure on basic services.
discovery and export of oil have improved transport but not the
living conditions of the people.
has been extracted from:
UN-Habitat (2003) Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, The Challenge
of Slums, Earthscan, London; Part IV: 'Summary of City Case Studies',