Country Portfolio Sudan

CFYE launched a Call for Solutions in Sudan in 2020 to support private sector-led initiatives that tackle youth and women unemployment. The Call invited applications primarily focused on creating medium-skilled jobs in growth sectors as well as applications that aimed to develop innovative digitization solutions. Initiatives striving to match and improve jobs also formed a big part of the Call’s focus. On April 15th 2023, war erupted in Sudan resulting in thousands of deaths, over 7 million internally displaced, and more than 1.5 million have fled the country.

We continue to support our Implementing Partners in Sudan as they continue their resilience especially during such challenging times.

The below portfolio represents all the selected partners in response to the Call for Solutions. Our Country Lead for Sudan is Ahmed Darwish.

**The Scoping Report was carried out in 2020, before conflict erupted in the country in April 2023.

Sudan’s Job Market & Youth

In Sudan, unemployment has increased significantly in recent years, affecting young people the hardest. According to recent estimates, young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as adults.
Before the war unemployment was affecting different categories of Sudanese youth, but more so those living in urban areas with higher education. Now, since the war erupted, unemployment is affecting all categories and is expected to reach 47% of the population, that is 17 million unemployed. This creates a bleak situation for the Sudanese youth, especially considering that over 70% of the Sudanese population is under 25. Whilst before the war, young women were already facing extra barriers in finding decent work in Sudan as discrimination against women and girls in health, education, and economic participation limits their development opportunities. Since the war, the situation has become alarmingly more dire for women who face many dangers especially from the militant groups now spread across Greater Khartoum, Darfur and Aljazeera states.

Although women are less likely to participate in the labour force, those who do are more likely to be unemployed and those who work earn lower wages than men.

There is a very large informal economy in Sudan, with 85% of workers engaged in vulnerable employment and 60% of the labour force engaged in subsistence agriculture. Starting businesses struggle to get started in the formal economy because of the absence of regulations and support for entrepreneurship. This further hinders the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are already operating in a harsh economic environment. Both access to financial and non-financial resources are scarce for start-ups. With CFYE’s Call for Solutions in Sudan, we aim to help more businesses have the necessary resources to stimulate a decent work environment for the Sudanese youth.

Our Impact

Our Portfolio in Sudan

Sudanese youth are highly motivated and express a great desire for finding decent work. However, the country’s labour market allows minimal chances for young people to find meaningful employment.

Combining youths’ aspirations with the needs of the business ecosystem in Sudan, we had developed a diverse portfolio that caters to the needs of the country’s labor supply and demand. Our portfolio consisted of partners working in agri-business, manufacturing, setting up acceleration programs to help businesses grow, and initiating training centers to upskill Sudanese youth in ICT skills. These partnerships planned to realize more than 4.400 decent jobs. More than 2.300 of these projected jobs will be newly created jobs. Others to be accomplished through the other CFYE routes: matching and improving.

The war has worsened the situation dramatically as the main employing sectors, based in the capital Khartoum, have mostly been destroyed or taken over by the RSF militias. Unfortunately, the war has forced one of our Implementing Partners (FairAgro Foods) to terminate operations whilst our remaining three Implementing Partners (249 Startups, iATL International and Alsalam Factory) continue to work on their project redesign to adapt to the war situation and commence operations, creating and improving jobs now needed more than ever before.

Over 2.700 of the planned jobs (more than 50%) in the portfolio will be for Sudanese women to help them increase their participation in the labour market.

We are very proud to see our partners tackle diverse employment issues, focused on improving the livelihoods of both urban and rural youth populations especially during such challenging times and the great losses already suffered by Sudanese, priceless losses in lives, well-being, and properties. Putting the youth’s voice in the center of their operations is a priority for each partner below.

CFYE’s grant will help us kick off the project and reach bigger scales, ultimately impacting more young people in Sudan. Not only will the fund enable us to establish and increase our financial capacity, but its technical assistance will lead to a well-developed and gender-sensitive business model.

CFYE’s grant will help us introduce the acceleration and equity investment-backed programs concept to the Sudanese ecosystem and increase the impact of already operating startups that not only create meaningful jobs for youth but also ensure the existing ones are improved.

CFYE’s support will enable us to build a well-established state-of-the-art training center with a vast capacity to fit many youths. Moreover, since our project mainly focuses on women, CFYE’s technical assistance in gender inequality and social inclusion will be essential for positive social impact.