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> South of Sahara


Population growth
2.38 %  
GDP per capita
Source: World Bank, latest available data

Italian Cooperation in the country

According to the general planning and strategic guidelines, Sudan is a priority Country for Italy that works for combating poverty and improving population health and social conditions. Current interventions amount to approximately 70 million Euros.

As shown by the “Sudan Household Survey 2014-15”, one Sudanese out of 3 lives below the poverty line, and in absolute terms, about 1 poor person out of 4 lives in Khartoum, in Kassala and Red Sea States, areas where we have been focusing our interventions together with Gedaref State.

With the newly approved initiatives in 2016, and even more in 2017, Khartoum, El Gezira and Blue Nile became part of our geographic priorities, albeit to a lesser extent, due to the increasing migration flows that mainly pass through Sudan. The Capital, Khartoum, and its outskirts are characterised by considerable pockets of poverty determined by two phenomena: the consistent transfer of migrants and the urban drift caused by both the economic crisis and climate change.

Malnutrition is one of the major health problems affecting the Country for which Italy was nominated in 2017 “Convener Donor” under the initiative “Scaling-Up Nutrition” (SUN). Available data show that 38% of the population suffer from chronic malnutrition and 16% of it from acute malnutrition; this translates into 2,2 million malnourished children under the age of 5, one of the highest incidences in the world.

Among crosscutting sectors, the Agency works towards social inclusion particularly addressing gender issues and women empowerment. Moreover, since 2016, more and more consideration has been given to migration issues: only in 2017 with the escalation of the conflict in South Sudan, the Country has welcomed about 450,000 South Sudanese in Darfur, South Kordofan and Khartoum States.

Under the EU funded interventions, AICS was nominated as verifier for coordinating and managing two health and WASH programs in Eastern Sudan.  More specifically, the first WASH program amounts to 2 million euros, under the Regional Development and Protection Programme for the Horn of Africa, and the second initiative, titled “Strengthening resilience for refugees, IDPs and host communities in Eastern Sudan”, worth 12 million euros under the European Trust Fund aligned with the Valletta action plan for tackling migration causes (2016.)

Italian development cooperation in Sudan can not avail itself of financial instruments such as aid credits and budget support; funds are pledged bilaterally (directly managed), multilaterally and via Italian universities. The context of interventions is burdened by complex and long NGOs’ accreditation procedures that become prolonged forms of control discouraging NGOs access in the Country. The few present Italian NGOs (Emergency, AISPO, OVCI, COOPI, OXFAM) struggle to plan their operations and ensure their stay in the long term, due to the yearly renewal of their registration.


Strategic development document in the country

Considering the particular political balance of relationships between the European Union and Sudan, AICS works currently in absence of a Framework Cooperation Agreement.

Support to the 2017-2030 Sudanese National Policy

National Health Strategy Plan 2012-2016 & 2017-2021

The Italian strategy and the areas of intervention

AICS strategy in Sudan is built around two pillars:

  • strong synergies between development programs and humanitarian and emergency initiatives;

  • the growing financial commitment in the development sector with focus on improving quality and access to public services (health and education), strengthening resilience and poverty reduction; social development and human rights (social inclusion, protection of the rights of children, women and persons with disability).

AICS is one the major donors in the health sector in Sudan with interventions funded bilaterally and multilaterally, programs supported by the European Union and projects entrusted to the Universities of Chieti/Pescara and Sassari (hospital sector). Programs’ activities concern three main areas:

  1. strengthening the management system of health services at federal and state level by participating in the dedicated committees for the development of strategic and programmatic policies.

  2. Improving the quality of primary health care services (promotion, prevention and treatment).

  3. Universal access to care (with particular attention to the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups: women, migrants and refugees).

AICS plays a relevant role in tackling malnutrition with an integrated approach, which is crosscutting to health, gender, WASH and agriculture, essential sectors in helping to mitigate this problem. The Agency works towards prevention and, at the same time, supports treatment of malnourished patients. Moreover AICS favours interventions that foster access to water and sanitation in schools and health structures (in Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea State) and favour behaviour change for a healthy nutrition.

A nutrition component is part of both gender and poverty alleviation programs, taking into account the key role women have for household food security.

AICS advocates for nutrition to become a central topic of the political agenda through supporting the local institutions and playing an active role as Donor Convener of the Scaling Up Nutrition Program: a global movement of people, governments, civil society, UN’s agencies, donors, companies and researchers intended to promote action against malnutrition.

Sudan is centrally positioned on the Eastern Africa’s migration route towards North Africa and Europa. Estimate reports the presence in the Country of 3,3 million IDPs and over 965,000 refugees and asylum seekers (ECHO-OCHA 2017). AICS operates in the migration sector through different financial channels: multilateral and emergency funds, projects entrusted to NGOs and initiatives funded by the European Union. However, multilateral programs receive larger portions of financial support in collaboration with IOM, UNHCR and UNOPS. Initiatives implemented by IOM are directed to strengthen capacities of local authorities in managing migration and regulating illegal flows respecting human rights. UNHCR and IOM projects are aimed at ensuring water supply and water and sanitation services in refugees camps and in out of camp urban/rural settlements, particularly focusing on the support to hosting communities.

In relation to gender sector, AICS cooperates with national counterparts such as the Ministry of Security and Social Development (MSSD) in order to influence national gender policies and, at the same time it promotes the role of women associations as development and empowerment drivers at community level. Economic empowerment is another objective of our intervention based on vocational training and the launch of micro entrepreneurship activities financed by a revolving credit system, which is managed by the women association. Italian development cooperation fosters protection of sexual and reproductive health rights, through the creation of spaces in which women have access to quality information provided by personnel trained in communication on gender and reproductive health.

Italy, together with the Ministry of Security and Social Development, works towards social inclusion and protects the rights of children at risk and people with disabilities by supporting the development of their human capital, promoting fair access to goods and services and boosting their resilience. In order to influence the social inclusion process and the socio-economic empowerment of these groups, AICS acts at different levels: (i) institutional capacity building directed to develop social development policies aligned to international standards; (ii) breaking down social and environmental barriers and promoting inclusive models in education and work; (iii) advocating for the rights of children and persons with disability to combat social stigma.

Furthermore, AICS in Sudan operates in economic rural development with activities aimed at refining production techniques, fostering the production of nutrient-rich crops, thus improving the nutritional status of the beneficiary populations, and providing alternative means of support, for example the creation of micro-enterprises that are not only purely agricultural.

Finally AICS responds to humanitarian emergencies, triggered by lack of adequate water and sanitation services and natural disaster (drought), in the Eastern States with directly managed interventions and initiatives implemented by NGOs and international organisations. These are mostly initiatives that provide basic services (access to drinking water, distribution of foodstuffs and consumables) and help prevent, control and treat acute and moderate malnutrition in children under the age of five, in pregnant and breastfeeding women. A program has also been launched to provide assistance in the field of nutrition and WASH in the most affected areas by migration flows and which cyclically present Acute Water Diarrhoea (AWD) emergencies with cases of cholera.



Alignment with the local government strategy and harmonization with donor community interventions

Italian Development Cooperation supports the Sudanese population with the purpose of tackling extreme poverty and improving health, hygiene and education in line with development plans of the Country and the Sustainable Development Goals.

However, Sudan still lack a final version and the implementation agreements of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and did not sign the Cotonou agreement, therefore it is still extremely complex for the Country to receive assistance from a larger international donor community as well as to access initiative for debt cancellation (since it is an Heavily Indebted Poor Country – HIPC).

The weakness of local institutions and the consequent lack of shared mechanisms with the Government (in terms of specific objectives and a system of verification of the achieved results), do not favour a fast implementation of the initiatives. The latter could be improved by a bilateral development cooperation technical agreement.

Due to the lack of definition of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the coordination mechanisms among donors community are mainly based on political or sectorial actions. It is relevant to mention the monitoring process over the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, specifically the humanitarian section.

Furthermore the following fora are active:


  • the UN-Donors Group meets monthly and is formed by the Humanitarian Coordinator, the representatives of the major United Nations Agencies, the Heads of Mission and the Development Cooperation Directors;

  • the Humanitarian Forum is announced monthly by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid and includes also NGOs;

  • the Informal Humanitarian Donors Group is a specific donors group and deals mainly with emergency responses;

  • the High Level Committee, established by the Joint Communiqué for Darfur, is formed by key ministries, NGOs, donors and UN Agencies representatives. The aim is to guarantee the enforcement of the agreement and insure the implementation of humanitarian aid actions in Darfur.

The technical coordination regarding development issues is limited and often restricted to thematic topics (i.e. Within the IBES framework there is the coordination group for education). Finally, there is a monthly meeting of the European Development Cooperation Directors. The meeting is mainly informative considering the inability to comply with specific division of labour’s rules since Sudan did not subscribed the Cotonou Convention.



Goals and expected results

  • Improve governance and strengthen coordination and management capacities of the public health system.

  • Ensure access to health services and extend universal health coverage.

  • Improve primary health care and training of medical staff.

  • Support scientific research and promote a culture of prevention.

  •  Strengthen control, (including epidemiological) monitoring and supervision systems (laboratory quality control, image diagnostics - telemedicine).

  •  Support agro-business initiatives run by women associations to achieve women empowerment and improve household food security.

  • Promote social inclusion and protect the rights of children at risk and persons with disability.

  • Improve agricultural techniques, produce nutrient-rich crops and provide alternative livelihoods through specific training and development of micro-enterprises.

  • Contribute to reducing the impact of migration flows on the living conditions of host communities.

Increase the resilience of migrant communities and foster peaceful integration in the territory.


read more close
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  Interim Basic Education Strategy - 2012 of 2012/06/04
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  National Health Sector Strategic Plan II (2012-16) of 2012/06/04
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  National Nutrition Strategic Plan 2014-2025 of 2017/11/01
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  La Valletta Action Plan of 2015/11/11
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  Sudan National Health policy 2017-2030 of 2017/01/01
COUNTRY PROGRAMME:  AT GLANCE 2018 of 2018/05/09

Aid in numbers

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28 Show projects list

AICS development projects

€ 9,128,662

Total resources committed

€ 18,489,178

Total resources used

What is it spent for?

The purpose/sector of destination of a bilateral contribution should be selected by answering the question “which specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure is the transfer intended to foster”. The sector classification does not refer to the type of goods or services provided by the donor. Sector specific education or research activities (e.g. agricultural education) or construction of infrastructure (e.g. agricultural storage) should be reported under the sector to which they are directed, not under education, construction, etc. read more close

By means of?

The typology identifies the modalities that are used in aid delivery. It classifies transfers from the donor to the first recipient of funds (e.g. the recipient country, a multilateral organisation, or a basket fund).  It does not track the end uses of the funds, which is addressed in the sector classification and to some extent through the policy objective markers. read more close

Main ongoing projects

Recipient € Used resources
SD 4,938,014
SD 4,128,299
SD 3,900,000
SD 3,850,000
Programme for resilience support of South Sudanese IDPs, refugees, returnees and host communities in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda SD 3,000,000
SD 3,000,000
Support for the improvement of the functionality of the reference general hospital in port Sudan, Kassala and Gedaref SD 2,950,000
SD 2,600,000
SD 2,600,000
SD 2,500,000
SD 2,400,000
SD 2,250,000
Expansion and Improvement of Healthcare Services Kassala Health Citadel, Kassala, Kassala State, Sudan - Phase IV SD 2,159,672
Emergency initiative in favor of South Sudan refugees and displaced persons, victim of the humanitarian crisis, and of the hosting communities SD 2,000,000
SD 1,955,236
AESSS - Increase the effectiveness of health services in Sudan: healthcare and healthcare education SD 1,880,000
Integrated responses for communities needs affected by dangling syndrome in South Sudan SD 1,792,990
SD 1,748,340
SD 1,598,500
SD 1,560,975
Building Youth Inclusion in Sudan SD 1,515,000
BECause Eye Care: Strengtening of ophthalmic services in Sud Sudan SD 1,505,608
Humanitarian Aid Program for the populations of Sudan affected by natural disasters and conflicts. SD 1,500,000
SD 1,497,382
Supporting the basic needs of the South Sudanese refugees in White Nile State, Sudan SD 1,400,000
AICS support to school meals in Kassala state and Red Sea state SD 1,400,000
Support to food security and promotion of healty nutrition in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal Region - FSHN SD 1,383,171
SD 1,365,648
SD 1,313,000
SD 1,250,000