Home

Eritrea vs. Sudan

Economy

EritreaSudan
Economy - overview

Since formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced many economic problems, including lack of financial resources and chronic drought. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice. Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% in Eritrea - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the sector only produces a small share of the country's total output. Mining accounts for the lion's share of output.

The government has strictly controlled the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability; new regulations in 2013 aimed at relaxing currency controls have had little economic effect. Few large private enterprises exist in Eritrea and most operate in conjunction with government partners, including a number of large international mining ventures, which began production in 2013. In late 2015, the Government of Eritrea introduced a new currency, retaining the name nakfa, and restricted the amount of hard currency individuals could withdraw from banks per month. The changeover has resulted in exchange fluctuations and the scarcity of hard currency available in the market.

While reliable statistics on Eritrea are difficult to obtain, erratic rainfall and the large percentage of the labor force tied up in military service continue to interfere with agricultural production and economic development. Eritrea's harvests generally cannot meet the food needs of the country without supplemental grain purchases. Copper, potash, and gold production are likely to continue to drive limited economic growth and government revenue over the next few years, but military spending will continue to compete with development and investment plans.

Sudan has experienced protracted social conflict and the loss of three quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan. The oil sector had driven much of Sudan's GDP growth since 1999. For nearly a decade, the economy boomed on the back of rising oil production, high oil prices, and significant inflows of foreign direct investment. Since the economic shock of South Sudan's secession, Sudan has struggled to stabilize its economy and make up for the loss of foreign exchange earnings. The interruption of oil production in South Sudan in 2012 for over a year and the consequent loss of oil transit fees further exacerbated the fragile state of Sudan’s economy. Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Darfur, and the Blue Nile states, lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture, keep close to half of the population at or below the poverty line.

Sudan was subject to comprehensive US sanctions, which were lifted in October 2017. Sudan is attempting to develop non-oil sources of revenues, such as gold mining and agriculture, while carrying out an austerity program to reduce expenditures. The world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic, Sudan produces 75-80% of the world’s total output. Agriculture continues to employ 80% of the work force.

Sudan introduced a new currency, still called the Sudanese pound, following South Sudan's secession, but the value of the currency has fallen since its introduction. Khartoum formally devalued the currency in June 2012, when it passed austerity measures that included gradually repealing fuel subsidies. Sudan also faces high inflation, which reached 47% on an annual basis in November 2012 but fell to about 35% per year in 2017.

(2017)
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$9.402 billion (2017 est.)
$8.953 billion (2016 est.)
$8.791 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$177.4 billion (2017 est.)
$174.9 billion (2016 est.)
$169.8 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
5% (2017 est.)
1.9% (2016 est.)
2.6% (2015 est.)
1.4% (2017 est.)
3% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$1,600 (2017 est.)
$1,500 (2016 est.)
$1,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$4,300 (2017 est.)
$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 11.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 29.6% (2017 est.)
services: 58.7% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 39.6% (2017 est.)
industry: 2.6% (2017 est.)
services: 57.8% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
50% (2004 est.)
46.5% (2009 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 26.7% (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
9% (2017 est.)
9% (2016 est.)
32.4% (2017 est.)
17.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force
2.71 million (2017 est.)
11.92 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 80%
industry: 20% (2004 est.)
agriculture: 80%
industry: 7%
services: 13% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate
5.8% (2017 est.)
10% (2016 est.)
19.6% (2017 est.)
20.6% (2016 est.)
Budget
revenues: 2.029 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 2.601 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 8.48 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 13.36 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement
oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly, milling
Industrial production growth rate
5.4% (2017 est.)
4.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum Arabic, sugarcane, cassava (manioc, tapioca), mangoes, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds; animal feed, sheep and other livestock
Exports
$624.3 million (2017 est.)
$485.4 million (2016 est.)
$4.1 billion (2017 est.)
$3.094 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
gold and other minerals, livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small industry manufactures
gold; oil and petroleum products; cotton, sesame, livestock, peanuts, gum Arabic, sugar
Exports - partners
China 62%, South Korea 28.3% (2017)
UAE 55.5%, Egypt 14.7%, Saudi Arabia 8.8% (2017)
Imports
$1.127 billion (2017 est.)
$1.048 billion (2016 est.)
$8.22 billion (2017 est.)
$7.48 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines, chemicals, textiles, wheat
Imports - partners
UAE 14.5%, China 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 13.2%, Italy 12.9%, Turkey 5.6%, South Africa 4.6% (2017)
UAE 12.7%, Egypt 10.6%, India 10.5%, Turkey 10.2%, Japan 7.6%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Germany 4.6% (2017)
Debt - external
$792.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$875.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$56.05 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$51.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
nakfa (ERN) per US dollar -
15.38 (2017 est.)
15.375 (2016 est.)
15.375 (2015 est.)
15.375 (2014 est.)
15.375 (2013 est.)
Sudanese pounds (SDG) per US dollar -
6.72 (2017 est.)
6.14 (2016 est.)
6.14 (2015 est.)
6.03 (2014 est.)
5.74 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
131.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
132.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
121.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
99.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$236.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$218.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$198 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$168.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$137 million (2017 est.)
-$105 million (2016 est.)
-$4.811 billion (2017 est.)
-$4.213 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$5.813 billion (2017 est.)
$45.82 billion (2017 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate

NA

13% (31 December 2017 est.)
12.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$5.787 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.223 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$20.22 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$3.084 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.734 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.82 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$3.084 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.734 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.82 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
34.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
18.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-9.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-10.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 80.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 24.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 6.4% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 10.9% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -22.5% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 77.3% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 5.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 18.4% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.6% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 9.7% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -11.8% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
5.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
6% of GDP (2016 est.)
6.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
12.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook