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Political relations

Since the fall of President Omar al Bashir, the German Government has supported ongoing mediation efforts, particularly by the African Union and Ethiopia, as well as by the United Nations, in order to prevent further violence and escalation and to foster endeavours to find a political solution to the crisis. As a result of this mediation, the military and the opposition agreed to a new constitution with a civilian-led interim government which started work on 21 August 2019.

Germany is supporting the peace efforts of the African Union, and is working to reconcile the parties to the Darfur conflict within the context of peace mediation. Germany is a major contributor to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and has seconded police officers and soldiers to the peacekeeping mission. Germany is also supporting the operation with training and equipment for contingents of African troop contributing nations.

The focus of German humanitarian assistance in the Sudan is on supporting the approximately two million internally displaced persons in Darfur.

Economic relations and development cooperation

Economic relations between Germany and the Sudan are characterised by a high regard for German products and services, though the volume of trade is modest. As the Federal Government has so far been unable to provide export credit guarantees for business with the Sudan, the prospects for expanding bilateral trade are limited. The current framework conditions, particularly the fact that the Sudanese currency cannot be converted, allow little scope for repatriating profits.

The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) have no representatives in the Sudan, and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) has no correspondents in the country.

The volume of German foreign trade with the Sudan is low. In 2018, Germany exported goods worth 156.2 million euros to the Sudan (rank 107). During the same period, the Sudan exported goods to a value of only 14.6 million euros to Germany. Traditionally, Germany’s main imports from the Sudan are cotton, gum arabic and small quantities of sesame, nuts and leather. Germany’s main exports to the Sudan include machinery and equipment as well as manufactured goods, chemicals, foodstuffs and textiles.

In the area of development cooperation, the German Government is committed to supporting measures dealing with migration-related issues as well as measures that enhance resilience and food security and promote peaceful reconstruction. The aim of all measures is to provide sustainable support for refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities, to strengthen the resilience of disadvantaged segments of the population to withstand drought and crisis-related shocks and to back up the internationally supported peace process in Darfur.

There is no conventional bilateral financial and technical cooperation with the Republic of the Sudan. Development policy measures are implemented via international and non-governmental organisations. This assistance includes projects to the tune of more than 100 million euros. The vocational training and reconstruction measures of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are being implemented as part of the German Government’s engagement in the peace process in Darfur and within the context of a trilateral cooperation partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Cultural relations

Cooperation in the field of culture and education is well developed. German culture and science have an outstanding reputation in the Sudan. A large number of Sudanese people have studied or worked in Germany, and in Khartoum there is an active network for people with an interest in Germany.

Since its reopening in 2008, the Goethe-Institut in Khartoum has been a cornerstone of cultural relations with the Sudan through its programmes and language work. With its cultural programme (theatre workshops, concerts, roundtable discussions, etc.) and its on-site café, it serves as a meeting point for the Sudan’s emerging intellectual elites, who attend the neighbouring university institutes. The Goethe-Institut’s language courses are becoming increasingly popular.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a German studies lector working in Khartoum who is responsible for awarding grants for study and research trips to Germany and advising students.

German has been taught as a foreign language at Sudanese universities since 1990. Currently, there are just under 125 students enrolled in the BA and BA Honours programmes at the University of Khartoum. So far, it has not been possible to learn German at schools in the Sudan.

On the academic front, a number of cooperation programmes are in place between Sudanese and German education institutions, involving exchanges between students, postgraduates, researchers and university tutors. They include the cooperation between the Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Technische Universität Berlin in the fields of women’s studies and development policy and contacts between the University of Gezira and the Humboldt-Universität in the fields of agriculture and archaeology, and between the University of Gezira and a number of other universities.

In the area of cultural preservation, close cooperation takes place between the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan and various German archaeological institutions. Staff from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Cologne, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin and the German Archaeological Institute regularly perform restoration and conservation work at ancient sites in Naga, Mussawarrat es Sufra and Gala Abu Ahmed. Artefacts found at these sites are regularly loaned to Germany for exhibition purposes.

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