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Food Prices Rising in North Sudan



Soaring market prices in Khartoum seem to have quickly ruined the celebrations that followed Southern Sudan's new found independence. With the creation of South Sudan, the north was deprived of most of its oil reserves, and now inflation is rising fast. Food prices have increased by between 10 to 15 percent according to vendor, Mutasem Suleiman, who says the market, is not as crowded as it used to be. Suleiman: "The major changes we are seeing concern the purchasing power of money and the increase in prices. Both of these have been visibly affected during the past couple of weeks." Suleiman says that ordinary people like him will be the ones to pay the price of this change. Northern Sudan has lost two thirds of the country's total oil production that is 500,000 barrels per day. This loss comes at a time when Khartoum continues to face challenges imposed by the U.S. trade embargo in 1997. The only port and refineries to sell oil are located in the north. The south will have to share its oil revenues with the north in order to pay for using its pipelines and other oil facilities. However, analysts say that Khartoum's oil share can fall to 40 percent or even less in the coming days. This will affect its budget and cut down foreign currency inflows. The expected condition will impact the North's ability to purchase food and other imports. Al Sadiq Ibrahim Ali: "Without a doubt, the political changes in the country are causing economic problems. There is an obvious influence, and I'm not sure what kind of support the governments will choose to move forward." Amid all the changes hitting Sudan, analysts expect both the North and South to address economic issues over time. By: Nadia Idriss Mayen Al Arabiya with Agencies

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