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Friday, 11 May 2018

Sudan - Infrastructure, Power and Communications

The infrastructure is at a relatively low level because of the bad economic situation and internal conflicts. Some parts of the country (mainly in the south) are cut off from the modern world, leaving some villages totally isolated. The total railways length is 5,500 kilometers (3,418 miles). However, because of the conflict in the south and long time neglect, the quality of the rail tracks is very poor. Therefore, only about one-fifth of its length could be used. Narrow single track railways from the beginning of this century are prevailing. The main railway leads from Wadi Halfa through Khartoum to El Obeid, from Khartoum to Port Sudan and from El Obeid to Nyala in the southern part of the country. In 1997, new railways were finished connecting Muglad and Abu Jabra. All railways are managed by the state-run Sudan Railways Corporation.
There are 50,000 kilometers (31,070 miles) of roads in Sudan, but the quality is commonly very poor. Many of the roads are located in the desert and are not passable during the rainy seasons. Only the road connecting Khartoum and Port Sudan is covered by asphalt. Bus connections are between these 2 cities and Kassala. Gravel roads connect Khartoum with Port Sudan, Atbara, Dongola, and Gedarif. The connections are commonly very bad and transport facilities very old. The Iranian government is financing the construction of connections between Rabak and Juba. Taxi services are available in big cities, but donkeys and camels are often used in villages. To improve the infrastructure, the government opened road construction to the private sector in 1998. According to contracts with Saudi Arabia, 250 kilometers (155 miles) of new roads between Khartoum and Port Sudan should be finished in 20 years. Another project, which should bring 126 kilometers (78 miles) of roads between Khartoum and Wad Medani in 20 years, involves the cooperation of the United Arab Emirates.
Besides roads and railways, water is also an important transport route in Sudan. The Nile River is the main source of some 5,310 kilometers (3,300 miles) of water transportation routes. There are some ports, including Khartoum, along the Nile and others, including Port Sudan and Sawakin, along the Red Sea. The main sea port is Port Sudan. The country has 4 merchant marine ships.
Sudan Airways owns 2 Boeing 707s, 2 Boeing 737-200s, 4 Fokkers, and 3 Airbus planes. Major airports are in Khartoum and Port Sudan, and there are some minor airports throughout the country. Of the country's 61 airports, 12 have paved runways. There is 1 heliport.
Sudan has not established a comprehensive power supply for the country. Khartoum uses 87 percent of the country's energy. The country's own energy producing power is not sufficient and is complicated by the conflict in the south. Sometimes, the opposition groups have stopped the power stations providing Khartoum with energy and have endangered the city. Hydroelectric power stations in Roseires, Sennar, and Khaslun Al Gibra provide 250 megawatts (MW), 15MW and 12MW of electric energy. The capacity changes during the year. Dips in power supply are caused by river pollution from heavy materials and mud in the raining seasons that requires turbines to be repaired. When the hydroelectric plants slow their production for repairs, heating plants located around Khartoum supply energy, but their total capacity is only 150MW. The government plans construction of 2 new hydroelectric power stations. The Merowe project located 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Khartoum should have 10 generators, each of them producing 110MW. The Kajbar project should supply 80MW. In addition, a heating plant that will produce 200MW is planned to be built near Khartoum. Negotiations regarding possible non-traditional power station construction are being held with some German companies. Such power stations could use solar or wind energy.
The telephone system in Sudan is well equipped by regional standards, but barely adequate and poorly maintained by modern standards. There were about 75,000 fixed telephone lines in use (serving 6,000 inhabitants) in the 1990s, but the World Factbook estimated that there were 400,000 by 2000. About 40 percent of the fixed lines are in Khartoum. Cellular communications started in 1996, and there were about 3,000 mobile phones by the end of the 1990s and nearly 20,000 by 2000. In 1997, an agreement between the Sudanese government and French company Alcatel for telephone net modernization was signed. A Sudan-South Korean consortium (including Sudatel and Daewoo companies) is constructing mobile phone facilities for Khartoum, Omdurman, and Wad Medani. The target is to gain 1.5 million users by 2003.
Other means of communication include radio, television, and computers. There are 7.55 million radios in use and 2.38 million televisions (141 per 1,000 people). There were 12 AM stations, 1 FM, 1 shortwave, and 3 television stations in 1997. There was only 1 Internet service provider by 2000, and only 2 of every 1,000 inhabitants owned a personal computer.