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sudan_mapPopulation: 37,195,349

HDI ranking: 171/187

HDI score: 0.414

Local governments in Sudan face major issues. The political head is appointed, and given little real autonomy. There exists uncertain and unclear revenue transfers, challenging the political head to fulfill tasks.

Local governance at a glance

  • Sudan has three levels of government:  federal, state and localities (local government) with elected legislatures at each level (IMF, 2013).
  • There are 17 states (wilayat) in Sudan which are further subdivided into 133 districts (Globalsecurity, 2014), and three regional localized administrative authorities with self governing power: the Darfur Regional Authority, the Eastern Sudan States Coordinating Council and the Abyei Area Administration (CPA, 2005; IMF, 2013).
  • State governors and state councils are elected (Interim National Constitution, 2005). District councils, also elected, elect an executive body. Local government staff and the chief executive is appointed by the governor of the state (Abdalla, 2008).
  • In 2001, the Federal Government Chamber was created to coordinate the relation between the state and national level (UNPAN, 2004).
  • There is no legislated gender quota at the subnational level in Sudan (Quota Project, 2014).

Civil society actors

Capacity building institutions

  • The Sudan Academy for Administrative Sciences (SAAS) trains all levels of public servants, conducts administrative research and provides consultancy service (UNPAN, 2004).
  • The Development Initiative Group (DIG) is a consultancy and training firm that offers specially designed training programs, technical assistance, capacity building interventions and research services to enhance human capabilities and strengthen capacity of development agencies for sustainable development (DIG, 2008).

Fiscal control

  • Local governments have funding sources from property taxes, sales taxes, 40 % of locally generated income taxes, taxes on locally-generated income , taxes on locally manufactured products, income from investments, rents, licenses, and permits, donations collected occasionally for specific purposes, and intermittent transfers from the state government (Hamid, 2002).
  • Power and budgets for localities remain under control of the federal government (IDRC, 2014).

Key initiatives for participatory local governance

  • The 1971 People’s Local Government Act (LGA) provides the legal framework for local governments, and in 1972 the Regional Self-Government Act for the Southern Region was promulgated (UNPAN, 2004).
  • In 1991, a federal system of governance was adopted which divided Sudan into nine states, and the states into provinces and local governments zones. In 1994, the number of states increased to 26. However, this number decreased in 2011 with the independence of South Sudan (composed of 10 states) (UCLG Africa and Cities Alliance, 2013).
  • “The process of fiscal decentralization started in 1995 when the revenue-sharing agreements between federal and state governments was declared” (IMF, 2012).
  • The 2003 Local Government Act extends the authority and responsibility of the local level, especially in the areas of health, education and development (Huraprim, n.d.).
  • The 2005 Interim National Constitution instituted the decentralized nature of Sudan (Interim National Constitution, 2005).
  • In 2010, among others, elections for state governors and members of the state assemblies took place for the first time after 24 years (SCR, 2010).

Challenges for participatory local governance

  • Local governments are financially challenged by uncertain and not transparent financial transfers, and due to states’ control over large amounts of local taxes (UCLG Africa and Cities Alliance, 2013; Sudan Vision, 2014).
  • A lack of qualified staff and weak administrations challenge local governments in fulfilingl tasks to deliver key social services (UCLG Africa and Cities Alliance, 2013).
  • The head of local governments is appointed and has very limited autonomy to effectively carry out mandates (Sudan Vision, 2014).
  • There are few opportunities for citizens to participate in local affairs (Sudan Vision, 2014).

Recent posts on this website about this country:


List of sources:

Abdalla, M., 2008: “Poverty and inequality in urban Sudan: Policies, institutions and governance.”

Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women’s Studies (BBSAWS).

Development Initiative Group (DIG), 2008.

Globalsecurity, 2014: “Sudan – Government.”

Huraprim, n.d: “Republic of Sudan (North Sudan): national context.”

Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan, 2005.

International Monetary Fund (IMF), 2012: ”Sudan: Selected Issues Paper.”

Quota Project, 2014: “Sudan.”

Regional Center for Development of Civil Society (RCDCS), 2012.

Security Council Report (SRC), 2010: “May 2010 Monthly Forecast. Sudan.”

Sudanese Group for Democracy and Elections SuGDE, 2011.

Sudan Vision, 2014, Kidani, A.: “Sudan Is Committed to Reducing the Burden of Poverty, IPRSP.”

Sudanese Development Initiative (SUDIA), 2013.

Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE), 2011.

United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and Cities Alliance, 2013: “Assessing the Institutional Environment of Local Governments in Africa.”

United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN), 2004: “Republic of the Sudan: Public Administration Country Profile.”