City limits: urbanisation and vulnerability in Sudan - Nyala case study

Research reports and studies
January 2011
Margie Buchanan-Smith and Helen McElhinney, with Hussein Bagadi, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, Amira Dawalbeit, Awatif Dawalbeit,Mawya Khalil and Badr El Din Abdalla

The rapid expansion of Sudan’s towns and cities confronts humanitarian and development agencies with new and complex challenges.

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.

This case study on urbanisation in Nyala is part of a wider study on urbanisation in Sudan, commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID), which analyses the social, environmental and economic consequences of urbanisation, paying particular attention to urban livelihoods, as well as infrastructure and the provision of basic services. The findings suggest that current international humanitarian and development approaches are not yet geared to respond to urbanisation’s challenges, with the focus predominantly being on assisting rural communities. As a result, the urban poor in Sudan have been effectively left to fend for themselves – largely forgotten by the government and the international community alike.

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