A. THE COUNTRY
The Republic of Sudan is the largest country in northeastern Africa, and in the Arab World. Population is estimated at over 43 million, with about 600 ethnic groups – one of Africa’s most diverse populations. Over 58% are Arabs who have intermingled with indigenous peoples. Arabic and English are the official languages. Agriculture employs the largest segment of the population. Rich in natural resources such as petroleum and crude oil, Sudan’s economy is amongst the fastest growing in the world.
B. POLITICAL CLIMATE
1956 – Independence from joint Egyptian and British control. 1955-1972 – Bitter civil war between the Islamized, Arabized north and the non-Arab, Black African south.
1983 – Second civil war and continuing political and military struggles.
1989 – An extremist Islamic coup led to increased fighting between Muslims and southerners. After an Islamic legal code was introduced on a national level, the ruling National Congress became the sole politicalparty. They supported the use of recruited Arab militias in guerrilla warfare as in the genocide in the western Darfur region.
2005 – The Comprehensive Peace Agreement officially ended the fighting, granting limited autonomy to the south.
2011 The Southern Sudanese voted for independence. The referendum commission announced the final results, with 98.83% of voters voting in favour of independence. It is expected that the new nation of Southern Sudan will be officially formed in 2011.
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
Sunni Islam is the official and largest religion. The constitution offers some religious freedoms, but in practise, those freedoms are arbitrarily violated. Attempts to impose Islamic law have generated a hostile religious context and have been a cause for civil war. Christian Church affiliates are the second largest at about 26%, with the other notable group, Ethnoreligionist, at about 11%. Of the almost 15% Evangelical affiliates in the population, half arePentecostals/charismatics.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.