Achieving the MDGs and Reducing Human Poverty

Sudan is endowed with rich natural resources, including oil, and has the potential to become a major agricultural producer. And yet it is one of the least developed countries in the world.

Despite the sanctions, the Sudanese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. The Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from US $ 9.9 billion (IMF 1980) to US $ 37 billion (IMF 2006) ; which led to an increase of growth rates from 7.1 % (2003) to 11.2 % (estimated for 2007) . The levels of foreign direct investment are among Africa’s highest with over US $3.5 billion in 2006 . They have been stimulated by the signing of the CPA and encouraged by policy reforms, favorable energy and crop prices, rising urban consumption, and macroeconomic stability.

However, this rapid growth is not sufficiently broad-based. The significant disparities between urban and rural areas and between regions contributed to growing inequalities and an increasing urban informal sector accounting for more than 60% of GDP . In fact investments and services are concentrated in and around Khartoum state and to a lesser extent Juba, the capital of southern Sudan. This state of affairs has been encouraging a rural-urban migration that might weaken the agricultural productivity and deepen poverty in both urban and rural areas.

Poverty is widespread in Sudan. UNDP’s 2006 Human Development Report ranked the country 141st among 177 countries . According to a recent joint World Bank-UNDP mission, about 60-75% of the population in the North and 90 per cent in the South is estimated to be living below the poverty line of less than US $ 1 a day.

The hardest hit by poverty are people living in rural areas, in particular women and internally displaced people (IDPs) who constitute about 12% of the population . The lack of formal schooling and high levels of youth unemployment is turning the potential of the young generation from an asset into a challenge for the future. Besides Khartoum state, the infrastructure (roads, railways, power and water) is either non-existent or underdeveloped across the country.

As a Member State of the United Nations and in signing the Millennium Declaration, Sudan has committed itself to reducing by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, which is the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - a goal that developing countries aim to have achieved by 2015. In the south, the newly established Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has made the MDGs one of its priorities.

UNDP's support in the area of poverty reduction focuses on improving the national capacity to plan and monitor a comprehensive approach to the reduction of human and income poverty, in line with the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Sudan.

UNDP’s strategic interventions also aim to develop the capacity of the Government of National Unity to manage, coordinate external assistance, and facilitate aid planning and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

In Southern Sudan, UNDP’s efforts focus on enhancing economic planning, budgeting and reporting in Southern Sudan, in line with the Government of Southern Sudan’s development priorities and economic development needs. UNDP’s assistance also aims to raise public and government awareness of the importance of prioritizing development needs within the overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals, and to ensure that the Southern Sudan Commission for Census, Statistics and Evaluation is able to advocate and monitor the MDGs.

In addition to supporting a variety of income-generating activities to reduce poverty, and increase food security and employment in rural Sudan, including through the Sudan Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme, UNDP continues to promote an institutional, social and economic environment conducive to poverty reduction.

The following projects provide detailed information on UNDP’s interventions for poverty reduction and progress on the MDGs across the country:
MDG Country Reporting and Poverty Monitoring
Creating Opportunities for Youth Employment in Sudan
Support to Economic Planning in Southern Sudan
Capacity Development for Aid Management and Co-ordination
Support to the States in Southern Sudan
Local Government Recovery Programme in Southern Sudan
Building an Inclusive Financial Sector in Southern Sudan
Strengthening Health Systems in Southern Sudan

Closed Projects
Participatory Economic Policy Reform in Support of peace building
Gender Mainstreaming Initiative
Advocacy and Capacity Development on MDGs in Southern Sudan
Preparatory Support to Microfinance and Micro-Business Development Programming in Sudan

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