Relations between Sudan and Ireland

Ireland and the Sudan have quite an extensive history together. Diplomatic relations were established in March 1984 when Ireland was represented in Sudan through the Embassy in Cairo and an Honorary Consulate in Khartoum. The Irish Ambassador in Nairobi is accredited to the Republic of the Sudan. In 1984 there was 1470 Sudanese people living and working in Ireland adding to the rich and diverse fabric of Dublin's melting pot of cultures from around the world. In September 2016 the Sudan Embassy was represented in Ireland, Dublin.

Total trade between Ireland and Sudan in 2015 was valued at €11,053,000. Irish exports to the Sudan were valued at €10.94 million. More than half of Irish exports were food ingredients (flavourings, oils) and food products and Ireland also exported medical and pharmaceutical products. Irish imports from Sudan consisted mainly of iron and steel products and well as agricultural products.

Due to the conflict and political instability of Sudan in the 1980's Irish aide organisations became heavily involved in providing aide to the Sudanese people, most notably Concern and Trocaire alongside Irish Aid, the Feinstein Institute, Al Massar (local partner to Concern in Sudan) and the World Agro Forestry Organisation- BRACED. This programme is run alongside BRICS, (Building Resilience in Chad and Sudan) and is concentrated in the areas of West, South and North Darfur. Beneficiaries of this programme include, indigenous displaced peoples (IDP), host and reuturnee nomadic communities who in an effort to escape the poverty and conflict in one region have fled to another, its main purpose is to strengthen the resilience of conflict-affected areas.

The programmes formulated and implemented by various organisations over the years since 1985 are constantly evolving to suit the present circumstances and immediate requirement at that moment in time due to the on-going conflict in the area, however the programmes are also run with future education and development in mind, to aid the people to move from dependence to economic and educational independence where they can maintain themselves in a sustainable way with climate smart agriculture. Sustainable development in farming is a huge focus for all aid agencies assisting in Sudan, concentrating on the introduction of crop-friendly trees to provide mulch and improve the fertility of the soil, gardening with the homestead production approach of vegetables and crops that families and communities can live off and survive on, "you eat what you grow", the improvement of the nutritional value of what is being grown, the survival of trees which provide shelter in arid lands for livestock during times of drought. In Darfur and Kordofan for example, measures are well underway by the Ministry of Animal Resources to implement vaccine campaigns for livestock, Department for International Development (DFID). The development of early detection systems for extreme weather conditions to improve pastoralism farming which is, the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep.

Intensive training by Concern and Al Massar will be provided on animal husbandry and pasture management, sustainable farming, seed multiplication and improved storage all intended to achieve the goal of improved production levels and food security.

Sudan is a magnificent country, rich in natural resources and endowed with huge potential to rival even China in the production of Solar Energy. As the extreme heat and weather conditions of this area can be seen as some to be a disadvantage in areas such as crops and farming, for example, 2016 saw the late onset of rains, dry spells and below average rainfall which affected crops and as a result the levels of staple foods and cash crops were well below the average in most other areas of Sudan, on a Global scale the conditions are perfect for the production of Solar Energy fields and the eventual provision to the world of energy. A most sought after commodity, particularly in today’s climate.

VDA'S (Village Development Associations) are also being developed to assist communities and villages, again to be sustainable and to ultimately provide at a grass roots, local level, the IDP's sustainable working models to educate themselves on sustainable farming and development so that they can in turn educate others and gain economic independence as a village, and in turn provide food and services and work for the people in that village, hence the sustainability. This is all part of the poverty reduction practices in Sudan carried out by the aide agencies. SAWA Sudan is the National partner in this programme that focuses on the natural resource and nutritional benefit activities.

Issues such as access to clean water and working hand pumps and teaching the skill of drilling boreholes and training local people to be pump mechanics in their communities also provides the community with the means to access services themselves and provide for their communities.