Sudan State of north-eastern Africa, whose territory borders to the North with Egypt, to the East with Eritrea and Ethiopia, to the South with South Sudan, to the West with the Central African Republic and Chad, to the NW with the Libya ; for a stretch of about 800 km, to the NE, it overlooks the Red Sea.
- Physical characteristics
The morphological unity deriving from the coincidence of the territory with the Nilotic depression, between the Ethiopian Plateau, the eastern African highlands and the dividing ridges of the catchment areas of Lake Chad and the Congo River, is contrasted, due to the enormous breadth in latitude (between the parallels 3 ° and 22 ° N), a great variety of natural landscapes. However, in the complexity of the environments, where the only unifying element is the long path of the Nile river, three large differentiated groups can be identified, from N to Sudan The northern Sudan, characterized by a wide desert crossed by the Nile valley, breaks up in the western desert area, of the Saharan type, and in the eastern one, the Desert of Nubia. The central Sudan extends between the parallels 10 ° and 16 ° N, and, due to the more favorable natural conditions compared to the northern desert and the southern areas, where savannas and swamps dominate, it constitutes the economic and political center of the country. Even in the central Sudan, which has all the characteristics of a Sahelian area, the landscape is very diversified: the crystalline plateau of Darfur follows the semi-histological area, almost devoid of vegetation, while the shrub area, until reaching the Gezira, a real ‘Mesopotamia’ between the White Nile and the Blue Nile. This last river, coming from the volcanic soils of the Ethiopian Plateau and therefore rich in silt, flows into the Nile (at the height of Khartoum), with a significant water supply (estimated at 60% of the entire flow), which, during the rainy season, caused the flooding of the land, fertilizing it (a phenomenon to which the birth of the ancient Nilotic civilization is connected). Finally, in the southern Sudan, the wide clayey plain, bordered by the terminal reliefs of the Ethiopian Plateau to the SE and by the offshoots of the Congo-Nile ridge to the SW, is crossed by a series of tributaries of the Nile, which penetrates the Sudanese territory with the name of Bahr al-Gebel, continues with a series of rapids up to Juba and subsequently, in the region called Sudd, forms an area of swamps and marshes. Here and in the basin of the tributary (left) Bahr al-Ghazal, with over 1000 mm of annual rainfall, there are also equatorial forests.
The most relevant aspect of the country’s demographic component is the strong ethnic-linguistic heterogeneity. The size of the population, supported by a still very high annual growth rate (2.1% in 2009), is contrasted by modest density values (on average, 16 residents / km2) precisely due to the territorial size; values which, however, contrast with a worrying demographic pressure on available resources. It is estimated that 40% of Sudanese, exposed to the risks of famine and malnutrition, still live below the poverty level. The population includes over 600 distinct ethnic groups and subgroups, among which the Arabs prevail, most common to the North, who represent 39% of the residents; followed by Nilotics and Hamitics (30%) and Sudanese. Despite the continuous migratory flows to the cities, and in particular towards the capital, which in 2008 had 1,410,858 residents, the urban population does not even reach a quarter of the total, while it is still estimated almost 2 million nomads. ● The official languages are Arabic and English, but Hamitic, Nilotic and Sudanese languages are also spoken. The Muslim religion, practiced by 70% of the population, is widespread in the northern and central Sudan, while animist cults are practiced in the south (25%) and there is a Catholic minority (5%).