Sudan: FAO Resilience Analysis No. 5 – Resilience Analysis in Sudan 2009
The Republic of Sudan (referred to hereafter as ‘Sudan’) is the third largest country in Africa, situated in the Nile Valley of North Africa. Although its geographical position features fertile lands and thus an abundance of livestock, the country has been devastated by civil wars intermittently for four decades. Crises in Darfur in western Sudan have led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 3 million people displaced (Norwegian Refugee Council and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015).
While these conflicts are often layered with religious, linguistic and ethnic factors, at their core lays the issue of imbalanced development between the central area of the nation and peripheral regions. Together, the latter are far larger in size (The Joint Outreach Tripartite Committee, 2015). According to the African Economic Outlook report (ADB et al., 2015), the poverty rate in Sudan is 46.5 percent nationwide and varies considerably between rural and urban areas (57.6 percent versus 26.5 percent, respectively), and between those who are self-employed (mostly farmers) and wage earners (62 percent versus 41 percent, respectively).
A large part of the country experiences a lack of basic infrastructure, coupled with reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture. This keeps close to half of the population at or below the poverty line (UCLA African Studies Center, 2008).
During the past decade, growth was driven mainly by the oil industry, but was accompanied by growing unemployment due to limited investment in non-oil industries and the poor economic environment for private enterprises and self-employed workers (ADB et al., 2015).
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – signed in 2005 between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – put an end to the civil war and paved the way for unprecedented opportunities for peace, development and prosperity. Together with macroeconomic stability and considerable natural resources, the CPA has offered a tremendous opportunity to increase broad-based economic growth and access to social services for many people (FAO-SIFSIA, 2010).
Taking all this into consideration, reinforcing household resilience for dealing with recurrent and often complex shocks is a key element in poverty reduction interventions. Resilience is defined according to the definition by the Resilience Measurement Technical Working Group (RMTWG):1 “the capacity that ensures adverse stressors and shocks do not have long-lasting adverse development consequences” (FSIN RMTWG, 2014).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been on the front line of resilience measurement since 2008. Together with other key partners, FAO has been pioneering resilience measurement and analysis with respect to food insecurity through the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) (FAO, 2015) model. This model has been employed to undertake this analysis of Sudan. RIMA identifies and weighs six pillars of resilience and relating factors that contribute to making households resilient to shocks that affect their food security. It also allows for tracing the stability of these factors over time. The pillars that constitute the RIMA model are: Income and Food Access (IFA), Access to Basic Services (ABS), Assets (AST), Social Safety Nets (SSN), Sensitivity (S) and Adaptive Capacity (AC). RIMA provides evidence in favour of designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating assistance for populations in need, in a more effective way based on what they need most.
This household resilience analysis of Sudan is based on the National Baseline Household Survey 2009 (NBHS 2009), developed and implemented by the Government of Sudan from May to June 2009. At the time that that survey was designed and carried out, South Sudan had not yet gained independence as a sovereign nation. Thus, the survey was originally intended to collect data from across the regions that are currently officially referred to as the nations of Sudan and South Sudan. However, ongoing conflicts in the regions that now comprise South Sudan meant that no data was collected there during the survey. Given this, and that South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after the NBHS 2009 had concluded, this resilience analysis refers only to present-day Sudan, and does not include any analysis for South Sudan.
This household resilience analysis examines differences in resilience capacity and resilience structure between female- and male-headed households, and between regions. This analysis can be adopted as a baseline to critically review the different policies implemented by the Government of Sudan, in order to suggest targeted policy improvements.