COVID-19 has laid bare the fragility of Sudan’s economy and health system. With more than half of the population living in poverty, about 65 percent of the labour force working in the informal sector, including the bulk of women, and an under resourced health sector, the pandemic risks further derailing the country’s efforts to achieve the SDGs. Though the crisis adds to challenges connected to Sudan’s transition to peace and democracy, and the twin-transformational agenda of political and economic change, it provides an opportunity to shape a robust development pathway.
Sudan, as a young democracy, requires a participatory, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to COVID-19. As the UN’s technical lead for the socioeconomic response, UNDP supports recovery efforts and strengthens civil society and public sector functions – primarily through capacity building and ensuring continuity of key government entities. We are partnering with women’s groups and civil society to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), focusing on small and micro-enterprises, to create jobs and support the health supply chain.
Many barriers to Sudan’s development trajectory have been exacerbated by COVID-19. UNDP continues to strengthen livelihoods in the agricultural sector, boosts wheat and other staple production to reduce import dependency, ensures harvests can take place ‘COVID-19 safe’ and expands renewable energy, such as solar water pumps, to decrease fossil fuel reliance. Combined, these approaches capitalize on Sudan’s ecological potential to drive job creation, national food self-reliance and green energy schemes – all key to a sustainable and resilient future.