The Republic of Sudan became an independent country on 1 January 1956. President Omar Al Bashir, the head of the National Congress Party, has governed the country since he seized power on 30 June 1989. Bashir was sworn in as President in 1993 and was most recently re-elected in 2015 in the first elections held since South Sudan’s secession. Sudan continues to operate under the 2005 Interim National Constitution and has a bicameral parliament consisting of a Council of States and a National Assembly.
Sudan is recovering from a series of civil wars with severe consequences for the population and the economy. In the Darfur region, the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007 to protect civilians and mediate conflict. Following years of fighting and then a referendum, South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011. The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was established in June 2011 to monitor and demilitarise the disputed border region of Abyei, between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Sudan is hosting over 700,000 South Sudanese refugees as well as refugees from other regional countries.
In recognition of Sudan’s efforts to maintain a reduction of hostilities, improve humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and improve its cooperation with the US on regional conflicts and countering terrorism, the US lifted most of its long-standing sanctions on Sudan in October 2017. However, Sudan remains subject to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions (arms embargo, travel ban, asset freeze).
Sudan belongs to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD – an East African bloc), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.
Since losing three-quarters of its oil production to South Sudan, Sudan has sought to diversify its economy by developing its mining and agricultural sectors. These sectors presently contribute approximately 35 per cent-40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. Sudan is one of the three top gold producers in Africa and has substantial arable land and water resources.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Sudan is from the Australian embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Sudan established an embassy in Canberra in 2017. Our growing two-way relationship features a shared interest in the strategic affairs of the region, as well as modest trade and people-to-people links.
Australia’s exports to Sudan were $10.95 million in 2017, mostly in the agricultural sector. Although commercial engagement is currently limited, potential opportunities are emerging for Australian companies in Sudan, especially in extractives and agribusiness. In May 2018, Resolute Mining announced a $22.5 million investment in Sudan-focused gold mining company Orca Gold. Austrade's office in Riyadh is responsible for Sudan.
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