Millions of people in Sudan are facing hardship as the cost of food and transportation rises amid economic turmoil in the country.
The government declared a state of economic emergency last week following a sharp fall in the currency. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Sudanese pound had fallen to 234 against the dollar, from 140 last month.
Dozens of Sudanese currency traders have been arrested in Khartoum over the past two weeks as the government tries to crack down on black market trading in dollars.
Hafiz Ibrahim, a Khartoum-based economist, said the price of sugar had risen from 100 to 150 Sudanese pounds (about 1.40 to 2.10) in the past two weeks, while a piece of bread could cost two pounds in Khartoum and up to seven more times outside the capital. Beef has risen from 500 Sudanese pounds in June to 800 pounds this month.
Some people are blaming the country’s difficult situation on weak government policies. In April, the government raised the minimum wage from 245 to 3,000 Sudanese pounds, the largest wage increase in the countries’ history. But the move was funded by printing more money because there are no resources, Ibrahim said.
The country is also facing recent devastating floods, which have killed at least 99 people and affected more than half a million, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Reuters, the government is still awaiting the $ 400 million donor-promised financial package to be administered by the World Bank.
Menas Ali, 35, returned to Sudan from Ethiopia in February, tempted by the promise of a better life in her country following the ouster of Omar al-Bashir last year. But the Arab teacher and mother of a child is returning to Addis Ababa due to rising living costs in Khartoum.
I just can not tell you how difficult the situation is here. It’s better for me to leave to ease the burden on my family. When I’m there [in Addis] I will be able to help them.
Fatima Mohamed, 54, from Khartoum, said long queues outside kilns are becoming the norm. I sent my twins to the oven to buy bread at 4am. They returned at 7 a.m., she said. They are taking exams and have to get food before going to school.
El Obaien, 38, who works at the health ministry in Khartoum, said he ate less and stopped going out so often because of rising transportation costs.
I reduced the meals I have per day and stopped thinking about the quality of food. I just eat everything that would be quite cheap and I have the opportunity, he said. I do not go outside except when necessary, and when I do I try to do all things on the same day just to reduce shipping costs.
Muzamil Ali, 32, who works for an NGO in Khartoum, added: “It is very common to see people fighting with a money collector or driver over the price of transportation. Last night I saw people fighting in the minibus with the driver over the price of the trip.
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