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Economist warns of 'revolution of the hungry' if Sudan's inflation is not addressed

September 16 - 2022 KHARTOUM
Women waiting in line to receive cash distributions in Zamzam camp for the displaced in North Darfur (WFP/Leni Kinzli)
Women waiting in line to receive cash distributions in Zamzam camp for the displaced in North Darfur (WFP/Leni Kinzli)

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, economic expert Sidgi Kaballo described Sudan's inflation figures as “disturbing” and warned of a 'revolution of the hungry' if the root causes of the economic problems are not addressed. He warned of the deployment of more police and security forces to contain the situation and said that, instead, a comprehensive economic plan should be agreed on and the putschists should be overthrown.

Yesterday, the Sudanese Central Bureau of Statistics (CBoS) reported that the annual inflation rate fell to 117.42 per cent in August compared to 125.41 per cent in July. In an interview on Radio Dabanga’s Sudan Today programme, economic expert Sidgi Kaballo described the inflation figures as “disturbing”.

Kaballo, who is also a leading member of the Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS), explained that the decrease in inflation rate does not equal decrease in prices; inflation rates are still high (above 100 per cent) so prices are doubling monthly, further increasing the economic hardships of many Sudanese.

“Any increase of more than five percent in the rate of inflation already reflects economic deterioration,” he explained.

The economic expert said that the government has not exerted any efforts to reduce the inflation rates in the past years and said that the only step taken by Hamdok's government was to cancel customs duties on basic commodities and production inputs. Because of the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound, however, the effects were not reflected in the inflation rates.

Dr Sidgi Kaballo speaking at the University of Khartoum, November 2013 (Ahmed Kaballo)

 

There already is a lot of unrest around the economic conditions and exorbitant price rises in the country, and several protests and strikes took place as a result.

Kaballo warned of the outbreak of “a revolution of the hungry” in the country, linking the increase in poverty to the subsequent escalation of petty crimes and violence in the streets.

He explained that the danger of a ‘revolution of the hungry’ lies in the fact that it will be unorganised and will not carry political slogans, criticising the system.

To make sure that economic protest remains organised and effective, Kaballo called on protesters to raise slogans related to the cost of living in the demonstrations that are regularly organised in the country against the military junta. This would also help to ensure the participation of large groups of people.

The economist and politician further pointed to the increasing numbers of beggars in Khartoum and other main cities, warning that the hunger of the poorest groups could lead to violence, looting, and stealing because of sheer desperation.

However, Kaballo warned of any attempts to try and avoid this by deploying more police and other security forces. The deployment of the police and other security forces will not address the roots of situation, he explained. Instead, priority should be given to establishing an economic programme that addresses the economy and living conditions of the people, after the overthrowing of the putschists.


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