Country of Sudan Dependency Theory Term Paper

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However, in the case of Sudan, it may be said that none of the above theories applies. This is largely due to the fact that there are specific internal factors which determine the orientation of the economy in a certain direction. These are most of the times related to the historical evolution of the country under discussion.

In the Sudanese case, the end of the war and the independence from the British rule marked the slow evolution of an autonomous economic system. However, the lack of experienced personal and the poor investment plans made these attempts fail. Also, the internal turmoil and conflicting situation between the North and the South aggravated the rift between the two regions of the country. Therefore, a sustainable development plan could not have been set in place because there was no cohesion both at the level of the political authority and the social one. (Country Studies, 2007) the Cold War changed to a certain degree the evolution of the economic spectrum because the external forces that exercised their influence such as the Arabic countries on the one hand and the U.S. And the European Community on the other increased the level of exploitation of natural resources Sudan possesses. Still, the governments in power proved to be rather weak and vulnerable and again, no actual sound economic progress could have been achieved. Nowadays, it is the international circumstances that made Sudan the center of attention in terms of oil exports as well as agricultural goods. Nonetheless, a precise guideline for a constant economic development is yet to be set in place. This is due, again, to the internal struggles, both in political terms and in the ones related to religious and ethnic tensions that characterize the society in Sudan.

Religion and Politics

The religious spectrum in Sudan is dominated by two major powers. At one end, there is the Muslim majority, which represents over 70% of the population, directed mostly in the North, while at the other end there is the Christian minority which makes up almost 5% of the population, mostly in the South and in the capital Khartoum. The rest of the population is of different other religions or beliefs. The Sudanese government "that has been in power in Sudan since 1989 has consciously based its administration on Islamic values." (the European Sudanese Public Affairs Council, 2002) in theory, each of the federative parts of the state has the right to choose its own law, suggesting that Christians for instance cannot be subject to the Sharia, and thus the South may have a different set of laws from the Northern Muslim part. However, the fact that there is no coherent support for the government in Khartoum and even that one is volatile made the authorities often disregard the equality and freedom of religion advocated by the 1998 Constitution.

The future of this relation between religion and politics is rather uncertain due to the fact that there are a series of factors which influence the ongoing process of democratization in Sudan. As stated by Kasfir, who concludes that "the regime depends on the support of wealthy political and economic interests that represent a small minority of the Sudanese people," there are various elements Khartoum must take into account when deciding on an elaborate and long-term policy towards integrating all the religious voices in its legal and political framework. (2005)

Ethnic-cultural divisions

Along the lines of the religious division facing the Sudanese, there are also ethnic and cultural ones. Taking into account the fact that the North and the South have been battling out for more than two decades, there is little chance that the eventually reached settlement of 2005 be sustainable. The main ethnic division lies between the Muslim and non-Muslim groups. According to the media, "Southern rebels said they were battling oppression and marginalization." (BBC, 2007) Following the 2005 North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the South was given a certain amount of autonomy for a period of six years. In this view it can be said that a certain power sharing arrangement was somewhat reached. Still, in practice, this could not have been set in motion and resulted in the Darfur crisis. Therefore, "Pro-government Arab militias are accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arab groups in the region." (BBC, 2007) This is a clear evidence of the fact that there is neither a coherent political voice at the level of the authorities, nor an adequate force of reaction to the unfolding events.

In the light of previous ethnic and cultural conflicts that took place in the early years of the 1990s such as Rwanda, there are various international agencies that became involved in the Darfur crisis. The United Nations, through the Secretary General makes constant efforts to propose and at different points through the African Union, to impose, a certain resolution of the issue in the area. At the same time, the neighboring countries, affected by the massive flow of refugees and displaced persons, put pressure on all the actors involved in the conflict to reach an agreement that would result in peace. Nonetheless, there are additional forces such as extremist Islamic militias that prevent a positive outcome. From this perspective, the situation on the ground is considered to be one of the gravest current threats for the stability of the region and was even labeled by U.S. president as "genocide." (the White House, 2007)

Women and development

The condition of women in Muslim countries is a rather sensitive issue to be tackled. In Sudan, women represent a large percentage of the labor force and are therefore considered to be a significant part of the Sudanese society. According to Sudanese sources, "women play a key role in the economic field" and are well represented in the public life as well. (the European Sudanese Public Affairs Council, 2002) Indeed, while the level of illiteracy is higher in women than in men in Sudan, apparently, the former hold rather important positions in the society, as doctors, teachers, or even public affairs. Moreover, the Supreme Court has a woman judge, a fact that is relatively uncommon for a Muslim country. At the same time, the Constitution guarantees women their right to participate in elections and to hold public offices. Moreover, there is a certain quota of ten percent for the presence of women in local legislative bodies, which insures them a definite participation percentage in politics.

This so called positive discrimination must be seen from the perspective of the efforts made from the part of the Sudanese government to provide a minimum of equity between the two sexes, taking into account the constitutional provision which denies official, legal behavior based on sex criteria. Still, even though there is a legal framework that prohibits such a practice, it is a rather hard goal to achieve in a Muslim country torn apart by religious and ethnic disputes.

Agrarian reform and the politics of rural change

The agrarian sector is an important area of interest for the Sudanese. More than 70% of the population is engaged in this sector, where as the service sector only employs 13% of the active labor force. (CIA, 2007) Since the 80s, agrarian products represented most of the exported goods. This evolution was due to the massive interventionist measures taken by the government under the forms of state aid and incentives to stimulate production. (Country Studies, n.d.) Improvements were made in the irrigation system as well as crop management because of the harsh climatic conditions. At the same time, there was a rather varied crop offer, from cotton to peanuts, sesame, and wheat. Even so, most of the ones engaged in agriculture have limited funds for proper investments and most often rely on rain fed agriculture which lacks a high degree of performance. Nonetheless, the state appears to be relatively well involved in the overall process of supporting the agrarian sector.

Rapid urbanization and the politics of the urban poor

Taking into account the discrepancies between the regions of the country, the development of the society is as well differentiated. On the one hand, there is the difference between the North and the South in terms of Muslim and Non-Muslim citizens. The former consider themselves as elites in areas such as the capital and the surroundings, while the latter see themselves and superior in the North. At the same time, there is the discrepancy between the rich and the poor, most of the population living under the poverty line. (CIA, 2007) the poor are the result of failed industrialization, while the rich of the political influence and pressure they exercise at the highest levels of the administration. This creates, at the same time, the present corruption phenomenon common in African countries which in Sudan is encouraged by a vulnerable government and political scene.

The political economy of third world development

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