Sudan’s economy is in trouble, even without sanctions

“THIS is the best you can find anywhere, and not just in Sudan,” says Ali Alsheikh, gesturing at the deep-green field behind him. His farm, which exports animal feed, belongs to DAL Group, Sudan’s largest conglomerate. Here, an hour’s drive south of the capital, Khartoum, one can glimpse a better economic future for Sudan: high-tech, capital-intensive and outward-looking.

On October 12th, as a reward for “positive actions” by Sudan’s government in thwarting terrorism and allowing aid to reach war victims, America lifted sanctions first imposed by Bill Clinton in 1997. These included a trade embargo, a freeze on state assets and curbs on financial institutions dealing with Sudan. Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, is still wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide. But for most Sudanese this is a milestone. “The whole country issued a large sigh of relief,” says Ahmed Abdelatif, a businessman.

Sudan’s economy has done poorly since…

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