Sudan’s ongoing conflict disrupts agrifood processing and aggravates unemployment

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BY OLIVER K. KIRUI, KHALID SIDDIG, HALA ABUSHAMA, AND ALEMAYEHU SEYOUM TAFFESSE
OPEN ACCESS | CC-BY-4.0

The continuing conflict in Sudan between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), underway since April 2023, is inflicting devastating impacts on the country’s economy and on livelihoods. Model estimates show that production declines across different sectors have resulted in a loss of about $10 billion to GDP—about a third—as of September.

The industrial sector, which contributed an average of 21.7% to GDP between 2011 and 2021, has suffered the biggest losses in percentage terms, projected to shrink by around two thirds by the end of 2023. Within the agrifood system, the most devastated segment has been the agrifood processing and food manufacturing sectors. Frequent violent confrontations in Sudan’s economic hub of Khartoum have halted most of country’s agri-processing operations, which are centered there. This sector makes up a large proportion of all off-farm activities, whose contribution to GDP is 14%. These disruptions have led to increases in imports of processed foods and beverages from neighboring countries like Egypt and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the conflict also poses serious challenges to food supply chains and consumption of locally produced food across the country.

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