As the ongoing conflict in Sudan escalates, the world watches with growing concern. The violence and political instability that has plagued the country for decades are now threatening to spill over into neighboring countries, exacerbating regional tensions and further destabilizing an already volatile region. But beyond the humanitarian crisis, there is another reason why the world should be paying close attention to Sudan: it is a choke point in the global supply chain.
In the context of weaponized interdependence and geopolitical risk, a choke point is a strategic location or resource that, if disrupted or destroyed, could have a significant impact on global trade and commerce. Examples include the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane through which a third of the world’s oil passes, or the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas and facilitates the transportation of goods between Europe and Asia. These choke points are vulnerable to disruption from conflict, terrorism, piracy, or other forms of geopolitical risk, and any disruption can have serious consequences for businesses and economies around the world.
Sudan is a choke point in the global supply chain for several reasons. First, the country supplies a significant amount of halal livestock to the Middle East, a region that is heavily dependent on imports for its food supply. Second, Sudan is the world’s largest exporter of several key crops, including groundnuts, sunflower, soybean, safflower, and sesame. These crops are essential ingredients in many food products, and any disruption to their supply could have far-reaching consequences for food manufacturers and consumers. Finally, over 80% of the world’s gum Arabic, an important input for food additives, paint, and cosmetics, is produced in Sudan.
The impact of the ongoing conflict in Sudan on businesses and supply chains has already been felt. For example, the recent closure of the Port Sudan container terminal, which handles the majority of the country’s exports, has disrupted the flow of goods and caused delays for companies that rely on Sudanese exports. Similarly, the closure of land borders and the disruption of transportation routes have made it difficult for businesses to move goods in and out of the country. This has led to increased costs and reduced efficiency, as companies are forced to find alternative routes or pay higher prices for transportation.
The ongoing war in Sudan has also led to an increase in the prices of commodities such as gum Arabic, sesame, and other key crops that the country exports. This increase in prices has had a ripple effect on businesses and consumers worldwide, as they have to pay more for these essential commodities. For example, food and beverage manufacturers have had to adjust their prices or seek alternative sources of these ingredients, leading to higher production costs and reduced profit margins.
Moreover, the political instability and violence in Sudan have also created a hostile business environment, deterring foreign investment and making it difficult for local businesses to operate. This has led to a decline in economic activity and job losses, exacerbating the country’s already dire economic situation. The impact of this instability is not limited to Sudan; it has also affected neighboring countries such as South Sudan, which depends on Sudanese infrastructure and resources for its own economic development.
Furthermore, the instability in Sudan has led to a rise in piracy and other forms of criminal activity in the Red Sea, which is a major shipping route for global trade. This has created additional risks for businesses that rely on this route for the transportation of goods, as they have to factor in the cost of piracy insurance and the risk of goods being stolen or delayed.
The impact of the conflict in Sudan is not limited to the global supply chain and businesses; it also has a human cost. The conflict has led to the displacement of millions of people, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes and