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United States aid to Sudan

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Title: United States aid to Sudan  
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Subject: Sudan–United States relations, War in Darfur
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United States aid to Sudan

United States aid to Sudan has three key objectives: a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur; implementation of the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; and ensuring that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorist. Sudan has experienced two civil wars since 1955, the second of which lasted 22 years. During this time, the U.S. was the largest provider of foreign aid to Sudan, largely focused on humanitarian aid through the U.S. Agency for International Development. Sudan is listed as the U.S. government's highest priority in Africa due to "its importance for counter-terrorism and regional stability, as well as the magnitude of human rights and humanitarian abuses" U.S. foreign aid to Sudan has begun to see some positive indicators of performance although critical reaction has said that aid to Sudan is neither strategic nor focused.

Location of Sudan in Africa

Background of conflict in Sudan

Sources of conflict

Cultural and religious differences are source contributors to the conflict in Sudan.[1] There are cultural divides in the country with the Arab Muslims living in the north and the black African Christians or animists living in the south.[2] Northerners, who have traditionally controlled the country, have made efforts to unify it through Arabization and Islamization. This is opposed by the non-Muslims, southerners, and marginalized peoples living in the west and east of the country.[1]

Historical timeline

Timeline of conflict in Sudan[1]

Since its independence from Britain and Egypt on January 1, 1956, Sudan has experienced two civil wars. The First Sudanese Civil War (1955 to 1972) started around the time of independence and ended when the south was granted autonomy.[1] The Second Sudanese Civil War began in 1983 and lasted 22 years. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended the civil war in 2005.[1]

Another ongoing rebellion began in Darfur in 2003. This conflict has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths.[3] President Omar Al-Bashir has been accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.[1]

U.S. foreign aid overview


In 1961 Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act, which separated the U.S.'s non-military and military foreign assistance programs. As part of the Act, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was created.[4] This act was passed in the wake of the Marshall Plan, in which the U.S provided aid to European countries devastated as a result of World War II.[5] President John F. Kennedy supported the creation of USAID based on three tenets:

  1. Current foreign aid programs were ill-equipped to meet the needs of the U.S and developing countries.
  2. Allowing developing countries' economies to collapse would be "disastrous to our national security, harmful to our comparative prosperity, and offensive to our conscience."
  3. The 1960s was considered to be a good time for developed countries to assist developing countries.[4]

Current allocation to Sudan

According to the U.S. embassy in Chad, there are three key U.S. strategic objectives in Sudan:

  1. A definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur[6]
  2. Implementation of the north-south CPA that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other[6]
  3. Ensure that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorists[6]

The bulk of U.S. foreign aid to Sudan should, as a result, pertain to one or more of these objectives. The U.S. also wants to encourage local governments to be more active in assisting its people in reaching these objectives.[7]

As of 2010 the current allocation of U.S. foreign aid from USAID to Sudan is $420,349,319.[8] The U.S. had been involved with foreign aid to Sudan for many years. They gave close to $270 million between 1977–1981 and were Sudan's largest source of foreign aid by 1984. In the mid-1980s the U.S. provided Sudan with food aid, insecticides, and fertilizers. When Sudan failed to repay loans in 1985, the U.S. ceased all non-food aid. USAID continued to provide [10]


Visual identity of USAID. The logo is on the left and the brand mark on the right.
USAID focuses on six main areas of development in Sudan.
Humanitarian assistance

USAID funds activities which support the CPA, long-term recovery, and a transition to a more peaceful and secure nation. USAID has been active in Darfur since 2004. $127.6 million for water sanitation, hygiene, health, shelter, and infrastructure was provided to Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad in 2009.[8]

Food aid

USAID has been Sudan's largest food aid donor since 2004. USAID provides an annual $30 million for a multi-year food aid development program as well as almost $680 million in emergency food aid. Darfur, displaced peoples and returnees, basic services, and food security are USAID's priorities.[8]

Peace and security

A goal of USAID in Sudan is to build local Sudanese capacity to address the causes and effects of political conflict, violence, and instability. USAID wants to strengthen consensus-building through political processes. Civil and community organizations in Darfur are also supported.[8]

Governing justly and democratically

USAID supports the CPA's core political processes. It strengthens the systems to meet the needs of citizens and government, as well as developing governmental priorities at multiple levels. In southern Sudan and three other areas, USAID assists with governmental transparency and increasing incomes. It also support elections, consultations, and referenda. A major goal is to promote participation in the civic process, consensus building, and international observation.[8]

Investing in people

USAID focuses on health by supporting mother and child health services and reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. It supports training medical officers to increase access to health care and immunizations. To support education, it trains teachers, improves schools, and encourages parent participation in education. USAID also promotes education for girls.[8]

Economic growth

By improving infrastructure and connections from isolated communities, USAID creates a more favorable environment for market development. Improved land management for areas rich in biodiversity is also a focus.[8]

U.S. policy on conflict mitigation and reconciliation

History of funding for the program

Funding from 2006–2011[11]

In 2005 USAID reported on its Sudanese funding strategy. Sudan is the U.S. government's highest priority in Africa due to "its importance for counter-terrorism and regional stability, as well as the magnitude of human rights and humanitarian abuses".[12] This explains the high level of U.S. funding, particularly within the peace and security sector, during the years immediately after the 2005 signing of the CPA in Sudan. The U.S. government's priority was to assist in the implementation of the agreement,[11] as Sudan's ability to achieve stability rested primarily on the CPA.[12]

Since 2007, of the $144.71 million of U.S. funding allocated towards conflict mitigation and reconciliation in Sudan, $141.77 million has gone towards the Economic Support Fund. USAID states the following as key objectives for the Economic Support Fund:

  • Supporting strategically significant friends and allies through assistance designed to increase the role of the private sector in the economy, reduce government controls over markets, enhance job creation, and improve economic growth
  • Developing and strengthening institutions necessary for sustainable democracy. Typical areas of assistance include technical assistance to administer and monitor elections, capacity building for non-governmental organizations, judicial training, and women's participation in politics. Assistance is also provided to support the transformation of the public sector to encourage democratic development, including training to improve public administration, promote decentralization, and strengthen local governments, parliaments, independent media and non-governmental organizations.
  • Strengthening the capacity to manage the human dimension of the transition to democracy and a market economy and to help sustain the neediest sectors of the population during the transition period[13]

One use for these funds is to "assist countries and regions at risk of civil unrest by helping these countries fight poverty, build democratic institutions to guarantee human rights, and provide basic services and economic opportunities to their populations."[14] As Sudan falls under this description for "at-risk states", the Economic Support Fund will specifically help Sudan implement the CPA and support peace processes in Darfur.

Overall U.S. funding for foreign aid to Sudan has decreased from $924.1 million in 2009 to $427.8 million in 2010, with the department requesting $440.0 million in 2011.[11] Of this funding, the amount allocated towards conflict mitigation and reconciliation in Sudan has fluctuated dramatically in recent years.[11]

U.S. funding for conflict mitigation and reconciliation within Sudan falls under the umbrella of peace and security funding,[11] which is primarily administered by USAID and the United States Department of State. USAID defines its work for peace and security in Sudan in the following way:

"USAID works to strengthen Sudanese capacity to address the causes and consequences of political conflict, violence, and instability. This includes building the capacity of local authorities to deliver peace dividends and enforce the rule of law. USAID also assists existing mechanisms that support consensus-building through key political processes to mitigate potentially catalytic conflicts. In Darfur, USAID supports civil society and community organizations in early recovery and peace-building activities".[8]


The U.S. Department of State has a list of performance indicators used to determine the value of funding towards peace and security objectives.[15] The information used to assess performance is attained by Department of State agencies, its partners, and multilateral global bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank.[16]

Because of the integrated approach to Sudanese funding from the U.S. and the global community as a whole, it is challenging to attribute specific results to U.S. funding for conflict mitigation and reconciliation in Sudan.

As program evaluations have become a higher priority for the U.S. government, quantifiable program results are beginning to appear. In 2008 USAID funding towards Peace and Security in Sudan resulted in the following:

  • strengthening 38 formal and informal peace-building and community-strengthening networks in Darfur, including neighborhood youth associations
  • engagement of 102,407 people in community-based reconciliation projects throughout northern Sudan
  • construction of six early warning posts in volatile areas of the Greater Upper Nile[17]


The impact of U.S. aid to Sudan has been a controversial topic. A June 2010 USAID report stated "capacity building efforts in Southern Sudan are currently neither strategic nor focused. With few exceptions, the objectives are sweeping, unspecific, detached from actual performance, impossible to measure, and thus unlikely to succeed".[18] One claim is that the capacity of the governmental bodies within Sudan are not enough to effectively use such funding. Aid money is either not provided where expected or used ineffectively and is therefore mostly wasted.[18]

Flag of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army

Although not specifically linked to U.S. funding for conflict mitigation and reconciliation, one criticism of U.S. foreign aid towards Sudan has been in the use of such funding to provide assistance towards the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which enlists child soldiers. As of December 2009, the SPLA included around 1,200 children—both boys and girls—aged between 12 and 17 years old.[19]

Other foreign aid to Sudan

Based on data from the international economic organization, the European Union institutions, provided 13.4% of aid during the same period.[20] During these years, Arab country governments, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, made two large contributions: U.S.$146.4 million in 2000 and U.S.$81.8 million in 2008. Overall, these countries account for 2.3% of the total aid during the same nine-year period.[20]

Top 10 donors of official development assistance (2008–2009 average) to Sudan[21]
Rank Country Total Assistance
1 United States $901M
2 EU Institutions $252M
3 United Kingdom $246M
4 Netherlands $127M
5 Japan $124M
6 Norway $106M
7 Canada $94M
8 Arab countries $78M
9 Sweden $60M
10 Germany $47M

United Nations

The United Nations has had a presence in Sudan since the 1950s and provided humanitarian assistance during the country's two civil wars. After the signing of the CPA in 2005, the UN coordinated planning and integration with government counterparts.[22] Following the CPA, the UN established the following:

  • The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS): consists of up to 10,000 military personnel, 715 police, and a large civilian component focused on the implementation of the CPA
  • Joint Assessment Mission for Sudan: designed to assess the country's reconstruction and development needs
  • United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2009–2012: the strategic framework developed with the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan for the activities and collaborative efforts of the UN system at the country level
  • African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID): placed 10,000 troops with the aim of bringing peace and stability to the Darfur region[22]

United Nations Development Assistance Framework

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is the common framework for all UN agencies working in Sudan. The overarching goal is consolidating peace and stability. The UN has identified four critical areas for 2009–2012:[23]

  • Peace-building[23]
  • Governance and rule of law[23]
  • Livelihoods and productive sectors[23]
  • Basic services[23]

Under the peace-building area, the UN has a goal that "by 2012, the environment for sustainable peace in Sudan is improved through increased respect for rights and human security, with special attention to individuals and communities directly affected by conflict".[23] Under this goal, the UN has identified three sub-outcomes: enhanced capacity of Sudanese society and government to use conflict mitigation; reduced threats from mines, explosive remnants of war, and small arms for those in conflict affected areas; and sustainable solutions for war-affected groups are supported by authorities at all levels and with active participation of communities.[23]

Foreign aid workers expelled

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa's Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009.

In March 2009 Sudan President Omar al-Bashir ordered that all aid groups cease operations in Sudan within one year. Sudan had previously expelled 13 aid agencies, including Oxfam, Save the Children, and two branches of Médecins Sans Frontières.[24] Some groups were required to leave the country within 24 hours and no guarantees of staff safety could be made.[25] The International Criminal Court had issued a warrant for President Bashir's arrest and he accused the aid workers of spying on the Court's behalf. His statement was later clarified to say that the order did not apply to UN agencies.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g  
  2. ^ BBC Research (February 21, 1999). "World: Analysis Sudan: a political and military history".  
  3. ^ "The World Factbook – Sudan".  
  4. ^ a b "USAID History".  
  5. ^ "Marshall Plan".  
  6. ^ a b c "Sudan— A Comprehensive Approach".  
  7. ^ Rogin, Josh (October 19, 2009). "Clinton rolls out new Sudan policy".  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "USAID: The Humanitarian Situation in Sudan".  
  9. ^ "Sudan—Foreign Aid". Country Data. June 1991. Retrieved April 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ Poole, Lydia; Primrose, John (October 2010). "Southern Sudan: Funding according to need". Global Humanitarian Assistance. Retrieved April 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d e  
  12. ^ a b "USAID/Sudan 2006–08 Strategy Statement".  
  13. ^ "Economic Support Fund".  
  14. ^ "Economic Support Fund".  
  15. ^ "Peace and Security: Indicators and Definitions".  
  16. ^ "Standard Foreign Assistance Indicators".  
  17. ^ "Fiscal Year 2008: Annual Performance Report".  
  18. ^ a b Peraino, Kevin (September 24, 2010). "Sorry, Sudan".  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ a b Poole, Lydia. "Sudan Aid Factsheet 1995–2009". Global Humanitarian Assistance. Retrieved April 11, 2011. 
  21. ^  
  22. ^ a b "The United Nations Serving Sudan For Over A Half-Century".  
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Sudan 2009–2012".  
  24. ^ a b "'"Sudan to 'expel all aid groups.  
  25. ^ McCrummen, Stephanie; Lynch, Colum (March 5, 2009). "Sudan Ousts Aid Groups After Court Pursues President".  

External links

  • Sudanese-U.S. Foreign Relations from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
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