Khartoum, (sudanow.info)- For Sudan it was clear from the result of the population census that increase in the number of people in a limited area that enjoys better basic services could cause serious problems, they saw it in Darfur.
Since 2003, nomads and farmers have been clashing over arable and grazing area that have well dug and veterinary and medical services and education chance better that the remote area, spurring a rebellion since that calls for equitable distribution of services, notwithstanding using other jargon to lure international sympathy, while the rest of the country remains under populated.
According to the most recent population count in 15 years, Darfur region come ahead of Khartoum the national capital, and next to Gezira state, the cradle of the largest agricultural project in Africa. Announced in 2011, Sudan's population stands at almost 41 million (2010), before the south separated in 2011, going away with about 8 million persons.
Darfur, 493,180 square KM, almost the size of continental Spain (505,370,) and almost the size of France (547030 kms), is under populate with about 8 million people and a huge amount of the national herd of about 141 million heads, therein, but still its people , compete over who will get the best share. Any increase in population without equally securing better services will add fuel to fire.
“But we are (still) better than most of our African counterparts. We are now 33 million, with 80% of our population in the age limit 15-60 year, we do not have many young children nor do we have many aged persons. So we are balanced.” According to Dr Yassin Al-Hajj Abdeen, the Director of the Sudanese National Statistics Bureau in Khartoum.
However, he concedes that the world is not suffering from lack of resources but rather from the faire distribution of these resources, and also from lack of credibility8 when it comes to coupling words with deeds.
He said while people in the world complain of rapid population growth, Sudan has a balanced population growth, and huge untapped natural resources.
But he complained that when the issue is tackled from the global prospective with the world population hitting 7 billion, the emphasis should be put on the trade imbalance and the lack of credibility among leading world countries that control most of the resources.
“People talks about four freedoms (including freedom of movement) but when it comes to people from third world moving outside to get a better chance for work in Europe, they are restricted... Africans cannot go to Europe to work. “Dr Yassin argued.
For Sudan, the country still needs more people to fill the huge areas and to provide work force for the huge arable lands and the untapped resources that need skilled labour.
Of the 200 million arable lands in the Sudan, only 40-45 million fedans are actually cultivated, in central, eastern, central and Darfur and kordufan regions in the Sudan.
Added to this is the concentration of the services in some areas, which became attraction to the population, and causing friction among the population.
One way to overcome the problem of fighting in Darfur is to provide more areas for drinking water and grazing for the nomad in remote areas. The government of Sudan has sought the assistance of the Qatar that brokered the peace deal that has received the blessing of the west.
The Qatari government is promising to initially provide about 2 billion dollars for the development of Darfur. Most of this money will be used to dig wells and to rehabilitate grazing areas and provide basic health, education and security services, thus luring people away from scrambling in one area and clashing.
But the country is also investing heavily on cooling hot areas and at the same time investing heavily on education, especially among women who constitute over 52 percent of the population and relying more on agriculture where 53.2 of the population are employed.
Yassin believes that the country will not be affected with an increase in the population, provided that its “excellent resources are exploited”
One way to do this is to encourage more investment in the country. The longest civil war in Africa, north versus south, was ended. Huge impetus for investors, especially Arab investors, to visit the Sudan. On Monday Sudan signed about 50 mining and mineral development contracts with Arab and Asian companies in a ceremony attended by Sudanese president Omar Bashir who warned local officials they should keep feathers of investors unruffled and seek to provide more investment incentives.
For Sudan, two key words could be the answer for staving away problem related to population growth: security in the resources rich peripheries of the country which reads provision of all basic services, and investment to unearth its riches.