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'Raise minimum wage': Sudan opposition anti-poverty campaign

December 1 - 2017 KHARTOUM
A worker at the Horse Racing club in El Fasher, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
A worker at the Horse Racing club in El Fasher, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Sudanese opposition parties started a campaign against the high rate of poverty in Sudan. One out of four people lives in extreme poverty. Unemployment is said to be a major cause.

The results of a national survey by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bureau of Statistics in Sudan, conducted in 2013, showed that one out of four Sudanese citizens live below the extreme poverty line.

Forty-seven percent of the population lives below the poverty line – representing more than 14 million people. This joint assessment of the IMF, World Bank and Sudan also pointed out that poverty is deeply rooted in the country. There are high rates of poverty in rural areas (57.6 percent) compared with urban areas (25.5 percent).

IMF defined the poverty line as persons with the value of monthly total consumption below SDG 114 (nowadays $17) (calculated using 2400 calories per person per day as the daily energy intake threshold).

The publication of the IMF research was not allowed in Sudan in an attempt by the regime to hide information about poverty in the country from the public. A Sudanese daily newspaper published the findings only in March this year.

Unemployment

The study showed that 50 percent of the people who live below the poverty line, live in families with an unemployed family member leading the household. Two out of three poor Sudanese belong to a family with an illiterate family head. A family headed by a member who graduated after enrolling in school was relatively less poor.

The survey suggested that people in Central and West Darfur, and Red Sea state will remain under the poverty line if state support is absent.

On Thursday, the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) launched a campaign titled “Full Right” that demands a raise of the minimum wage and to cover all citizens with social security, in order to reduce the rates of poverty and economic deterioration.

SCP chairman in Khartoum, Nureldin Salaheldin told Radio Dabanga that his party launched the campaign in anticipation of Sudan's 2018 budget. “We expect it to worsen poverty and increase the burden on Sudanese people.

“The minimum wage should be raised to more than SDG400 ($60) in public and private sectors and provide social security to those who do not receive a monthly wage.” The party's campaign started with public seminars on Thursday and plans for promotion through newspapers and social media.


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