“Go North” is what Sudanese are saying to blacks in America since the United States government reversed its policy on Sudan and lifted trade, commercial and finance sanctions. After nearly 20 years of harassment, intrusion and pariah status, U.S. officials have removed all but Darfur-related sanctions on Sudan’s Khartoum government.
A generation of African-Americans has to be introduced to Sudan. Sudan is rich in resources but for two decades the US has imposed sanctions against the North African country of 38 million people. Officially North Sudan is the Republic of the Sudan. Sudan, the Land of Black people, is considered by many scholars as the “cradle of civilization.”
Where the Nile flows up to Egypt is the historical backdrop to Sudan. The place it has etched since ancient times, bolsters Sudan and its tourism. Sudan Minister Osama Faisal says, “Sudan still needs U.S. investors to come. I am sure that they will have the best opportunities.”
Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent. Reports show over 160,000 millionaires across Africa. While many of its millionaires are white, business opportunities on this continent are making numbers of blacks millionaires. The “African Renaissance” concept is based on a philosophy that African people and nations shall overcome current challenges to achieve cultural, scientific, and economic renewal. Most of the “new millionaires” have been young entrepreneurs and investors who have invested in Africa and created promising businesses and fast-growing economies.
Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries such as Sudan. One of the major areas Sudan is pursuing is a successful tourism industry. Business commerce accounts for 20 percent of North Sudan’s GDP. About 80 percent of the industrial sector is privately owned.
The main industries are tannery and leather production, weaving and spinning mills, gum arabic production, paper mills, minerals, ore and raw materials extraction. Agricultural production is important in Sudan because it employs 80 percent of Sudan’s work force and contributes a third of GDP. Sudan’s agricultural trade includes cotton, peanuts, gum arabic and sesame products and production. Cotton and peanuts are major agricultural exports. The telephone system in Sudan is well-equipped and maintained.
As a result of a legacy of bullying and intimidation from Western governments, Sudan seeks to enhance trade and commerce with America’s blacks. Full of valuables, Sudan is full of business opportunities. Sudan is the world’s biggest producer of gum arabic. The gum is used in foodstuffs, the chemical industry, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and lithography.
Sudan produces two tons of paper every year. Because of Sudan’s access to all the materials necessary for production (wood, papyrus, and other raw materials), investments in this sector are sound. Foodstuffs production includes sugar, beef, poultry, fish and others. Sugar production is very important to Sudan. Sudan is the third-largest producer of sugar in Africa; the Kenana Sugar Company is an excellent example of how the government wants joint ventures and investments to spur growth.
There are large deposits of copper, gold, chrome, iron ore, lead, wolfram, zinc, uranium, diamonds, marble, talc and plaster in Sudan. Gold production is estimated at six tons yearly. Sudan has wealth to produce wealth. Total gold deposits are expected to contain 37 tons.
This is a great time for blacks with business orientations to go to Africa and Sudan and forge new futures. Across Africa, startup companies are attracting the interest of venture capital, private equity, social impact funds and angel investors looking for high returns on invested capital. Sudanese officials are seeking to couple American black entrepreneurs with their land and people.
Both Sudan and Africa have large and youthful populations, an expanding middle class and increasing urbanization as key economic drivers. If you’re endowed with business ideas and looking for interesting investment opportunities, by all means you should explore prospects in the lands of the blacks.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.