Briefing from ROAPE Volume 10 Number 26
Recent Trends in Foreign Investment/Uneven Dev in Sudan
The process of uneven development imposed by British colonialism, through which only three regions of Sudan - the Gezira Scheme, Khartoum, and the Blue Nile Province - underwent any major economic development, has been extended and deepened by the subsequent penetration of foreign investment capital. The reason for this phenomenon is crystal clear. Both British colonialism and more recent foreign capital share one primary objective: a high return on investment; British manufacturers wanted cheap cotton, and the oil rich Arab states now want cheap food. This is the economic reality behind the oft-quoted reference to Sudan as ‘breadbasket of the Arab World’ . Most significant in this respect is the massive Kuwaiti and Saudi financing of development projects employing Western firms and technicians. These projects include large irrigation schemes like Rahad and Khashm al Girba, and the construction of the Jonglei Canal, designed to by-pass the Sudd and thereby increase the River Nile flow. These, and other developments such as Kenana Sugar (involving the British firm Lonrho), the one million acre commercial cattle farm being developed by AZL International (a subsidiary of the Arizona, Colorado Land and Cattle Company), the mechanised farming project in the Damazine area, the Western Savannah Development Scheme, the IDA financed New Halfa agricultural rehabilitation scheme, and many other smaller projects, will undoubtedly integrate many more peasants into capitalist property relations, extend agricultural wage-labour, and tend to even out the existing differential rates of pay within the economically advanced agricultural sectors.