Over the past four decades the cities and towns of Sudan have experienced dramatic population growth. Urbanisation has occurred in a context of poor governance, decreasing job opportunities, deepening social and economic insecurity and conflict-induced displacement. Growing numbers of poor and vulnerable urban dwellers live in abject poverty, are vulnerable to a range of daily protection threats and face acute challenges in relation to access to livelihoods, basic services and land.
The third and final meeting in this series on the phenomenon of urbanisation and its drivers in different parts of Sudan will explore the process of rapid urbanisation in Port Sudan, and the broader challenges and opportunities facing eastern Sudan. The port city’s exponential population growth, driven by recurrent waves of displacement due to drought and conflict, has not been matched by increased job opportunities and better access to services. Instead, displaced people are living in shockingly precarious conditions, with little or no access to basic services, adequate housing or water. In the wake of the International Donors and Investors Conference for East Sudan held in Kuwait last December, it is time for national and international actors to reflect on the current situation and develop new strategies for intervention.