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Sudan’s ongoing conflict is taking its toll on business relations with neighbors

Smoke is seen in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, April 19, 2023.AP Photo/Marwan Ali, File
  • The protracted fighting in Sudan has triggered a regional crisis with significant economic and security implications.
  • South Sudan is experiencing a surge in refugee arrivals, including South Sudanese returning from Sudan and refugees from other nations. 
  • The ongoing conflict in Sudan poses a threat to South Sudan's oil industry. 

A top UNHCR official in Geneva has warned that the protracted fighting in Sudan has sparked a crisis in the area with implications for security and the economy.

“The impact of this crisis on South Sudan is multiple – there is an economic impact which is very serious because good parts of the northern part of South Sudan were very much dependent on the economy of Sudan," said the UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Raouf Mazou, as seen on the British public broadcaster, BBC.

"So, it is a regional crisis having security considerations, but also very important economic considerations,” he added.

The bulk of the refugees who have crossed the border into South Sudan since the violence in Sudan began in April are South Sudanese who were once forced to quit their nation and are now returning.

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Along with them, refugees from Sudan and other nations are arriving. According to the UNHCR, South Sudan has seen more than 100,000 additional arrivals this week.

Approximately 7,000 registered refugees have reached South Sudan since the start of the violence in Sudan, Mr. Mazou told reporters in the nation's capital, Juba, on Tuesday. They included 1,800 Eritreans, 2,600 Ethiopians, 3,500 Sudanese, and other nationalities. According to Mr. Mazou, 400,000 Sudanese refugees have overall left Sudan for nearby nations.

Additionally, it is believed that the war could massively disrupt the country’s oil market, Hope Finegold, a Dryad Global Analyst, recently noted that two pipelines, both of which pass through Sudan and meet at Khartoum, "where the fighting is heaviest," are essential to South Sudan's oil output.

“Oil flow to terminals will likely be impacted and exports are expected to be reduced due to supply disruptions,” Finegold said. “Given the lack of alternative transit routes, Bab el–Mandeb in Port Sudan is a strategically important chokepoint. It is likely that a prolonged conflict will cause blockages or closures at Bab el–Mandeb which could lead to significant increases in shipping time and costs,” the analyst added.

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