Sudan has been facing rising inflation for years, yet the country has seen one of the highest inflation increases in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic — after it skyrocketed in October 2020 to 230% year on year.
The result is that food prices in the country have been dramatically escalating, and now, seven regions of Sudan have declared a state of emergency after violent protests broke out over the rising cost of food.
In North Kordofan and neighboring states, high school students took to the streets in a peaceful march to demonstrate against the rising cost of living, which later turned into an aggressive protest as buses and shops in the area were looted. North Kordofan and six other states then announced the state of emergency, and a curfew was set for between 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“Many of [the students] work as cleaners as well, to help themselves and their families. People really are struggling and that’s the mistake of the government in the center, they didn’t provide enough subsidized food,” said Bashir el-Sadig, a teacher at a school in North Kordofan.
One example of the rising food prices is the cost of sugar, with 1kg of sugar costing 220 Sudanese pounds (about $4) in January, up from 150 Sudanese pounds in 2020.
Many factors have played a part in the increase of the cost of living, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the weakening currency. By the time the country faced its second wave of the virus, many people working in the informal sector — for example, as cleaners for wealthy families — had lost their jobs and livelihoods.
One of the findings of the survey was that more than 20% of households said they couldn’t buy both bread and cereals and still be able to afford milk and dairy products. Meanwhile, around 45% said they were worried about having enough food to eat, and had changed their eating habits as a result.
Unemployment as a result of the pandemic has also badly impacted families, and affected their ability to buy food, with around 67% of people who had been in work before COVID-19 lockdowns saying they hadn’t returned to work by June/July 2020.
You can join the movement to fight for a world without hunger by taking action here with Idris and Sabrina Elba calling on governments to support farmers and rural communities.