Term Paper: Country of Sudan Dependency Theory vs. Modernization

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Country of Sudan

Dependency theory vs. modernization theory

Religion and Politics

Ethnic-cultural divisions

Women and development

Agrarian reform and the politics of rural change

Rapid urbanization and the politics of the urban poor

The political economy of third world countries

The African continent is considered to be one of the most important regions in the world at the moment in the international politics. This is largely due to the continuous conflicting situations that mark the evolution of states such as Ethiopia, Chad, or Sudan. Currently, it is the Sudanese state that draws the most attention, as most observers accompanying the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his recent visit he underwent in Khartoum to further discuss the dramatic situation of the Darfur region. (UN, 2007)

Despite serious concerns related to the internal stability of the Sudanese system of government, as well as the external implications the unfolding conflict has on the neighboring countries, a possible solution is rather hard to identify. This is due to the complexity of the issues arising from the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural aspects which define the present Sudanese national identity.

The present report will focus on a presentation structured on the main elements that constitute the most essential elements of country radiography. These include data related to economy and economic development, a historical perspective from the point-of-view of the dependency vs. modernization theories, religion and politics, ethnic and cultural realities, the situation of women in the Sudanese society, an insight in the agrarian sector, the main means of existence for the population, as well as a look at the revolutionary change and the political situation of the society in terms of the state-population ratio. The purpose of this report is to merely point out the elements which define the current situation in the country and which must be taken into account when discussing any possible solution for the African state.

Introduction

Africa is widely regarded as being one of the central pieces of international trade, both in terms of raw materials and natural resources, and of cheap labor force and large consumers' market. However, in recent decades, following the decolonization process that affected most countries in Africa, this region became a destabilizing factor for the entire region and the whole world driven by the globalization process. In this sense, what is nowadays happening in the far reaching countries of continental Africa seems to become more and more interesting for the rest of the world. The Sudanese state is in this respect one of the most watched upon entities in the world, largely because of its continuous humanitarian crisis in the western region of Darfur, as well as for its political instability which could, and has so far, negatively influences the surrounding areas. These situation however subscribe to a definite areal determined by geographical and historical coordinates.

Geography

From a geographical perspective, as well as a historian one, Sudan is a traditional African country. It borders Ethiopia, Egypt, and Libya among others, with a coastline of 853 km at the Red Sea. (CIA, 2007) the rather unspectacular terrain, with mountains in the North and plains throughout the country makes Sudan a relatively demanding area in terms of living conditions. The climate is also specific for this type of region, with periods alternating in drought and rainy seasons. All these elements of natural conditions influenced greatly the development of the country and its population.

History

The history of Sudan was well influenced by the colonial phenomenon that had touched on the African continent in the 19th century. Eventually, the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1956, an event that paved the way to various subsequent civil wars which caused the country to fall into constant political and social turmoil. The continuous clashes between the political forces that manifested their desires for control of the entire Sudanese state revolved around the Northern dominance over the Southern parts of the country. These ultimately led to a break between the two areas of the state and fueled the conflicts both at the economic and the religious levels. Taking this perspective into account, it can be said that the historical development of the state reveals the precise factors that determine the chaotic situation currently in Sudan.

Perspectives on the economy

In terms of economic development, Sudan went through a series of interesting transformations starting with the early 1990s. Following the gaining of independence, the country embarked on a series of economic initiatives, most often financed by Arabic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. (Country Studies, n.d.) These efforts subscribed to the overall strategies of the Cold War, when the Arabic states tried to create a different stand for themselves in regard to the bipolar conflict between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. At the same time, though, the American influence in terms of financial aid proved to be decisive in helping the Sudanese government to implement its economic long-term plans, a fact that resulted in a constantly growing GDP. However, in the late 70s and early 80s, the civil war that torn apart the country also impacted its economic development and since the early 90s, the economic sector is in a continuous downfall.

Currently, indicators point out a relatively gloomy situation. Thus, according to statistics from 2006, the GDP per capita is $2,400, a rather low value for a population of nearly 40 million people. Therefore, the production rate and hence the prosperity of the country is quite reduced.

In terms of population, the growth rate is, according to 2007 statistics, of 2.087%, similar to that of Ethiopia, but much bigger than the U.S., for instance. (CIA, 2007) This shows that, on the one hand, the population is a continuous growth, but, on the other it draws an alarm signal for the extent to which the country can actually support this growth and whether the economic perspectives could offer a support for this growing number of people.

Related to the population, it is clear to see that Sudan is largely an agrarian country, with more than 80% of its labor force being engaged in the agrarian sector. Taking into account the drastic climate conditions presented above, it is rather difficult to ascertain the degree to which this basic and traditional occupation would insure the development of a country in this globalised world. Furthermore, this lack of industrial activities, (aside from a few oil related ones) increases the probability of unemployment which is currently around 18%. (CIA, 2007) relatively slow economy cannot provide for its citizens of take on serious health care measures. The measure of this situation is most often given by the rate of infant mortality which reached in Sudan the 91 mark. This is a decisive element to be taken into account when discussing the state of the society because it offers a perspective on the health care system of the country which in Sudan is poorly developed. In terms of life expectancy, the average is oscillating at around 50 years, which underlines the harsh conditions of living for the Sudanese population, as well as the powerful impact civil war and other regional and internal conflicts have on the well being of the people.

The social conditions are also representative for pointing out the disarray of the Sudanese economy. Currently, the literacy rate, a measure determining the level of education of the society, is somewhere above 60%, with more that 70% of men and 50% of women being able to read. This leads to the conclusion that the society on the whole is rather unprepared in terms of education and professional guidance. (CIA, 2007) in this sense, the UNESCO statistics point out the high degree of illiteracy among children and young adults. The following table shows this evolution over three years, taken as reference point.

Illiteracy rates, aged 15-24.

Source: United Nations, Statistics Division, 2007

At the present time, Sudan is on the verge of a reorganization of the economy, with the technical and financial support of various international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. In this sense, it enrolled in the IMF macroeconomic plans for restructuring of the economy. (CIA, 2007) This led to an actual increase in the GDP, reaching 10% in 2006. However, this evolution was largely based on external factors such as the explosion in the demand for crude oil, Sudan being an important supplier in the region. At the same time, the fiscal policies implemented with the assistance of foreign aid have helped stabilize the currency rate and the inflation at about 9%. Still, due to the political uncertainty and the constant war climate, Sudan is far from being on a verge of economic revival.

Dependency theory vs. Modernization theory theoretical approach of the current situation in Sudan places in comparison the two main ideas related to country development. The dependency theory places in question the relation between the development of rich countries and that of poor countries. (Ferraro, 1996) the modernization approach on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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