The October 2021 military overthrow of Sudan’s civilian-led transition demonstrates that progress toward democracy can be fragile, said Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming at the U.S. Agency for International Development, in their recent Senate testimony.
“We applaud Sudanese from all walks of life who continue to take to the streets at great personal risk to demand civilian rule and democracy,” said Assistant Secretary Phee in her testimony. As Deputy Administrator Coleman added, “Thousands of brave citizens are risking their lives on an almost daily basis to end the corrupt military rule that has threatened and oppressed many of them for their entire lives.”
Following Sudan’s inspiring citizen-led revolution in 2018, the U.S. government expanded its assistance, becoming the largest donor supporting Sudan’s democratic transition. This assistance supported key political and economic reforms to move the civilian-led transition forward and show the Sudanese people that democracy can deliver a viable and vibrant future.
After the military’s betrayal of its commitments to the people, the United States announced a pause on new obligations from the $700 million appropriations. To help Sudan’s people continue building their future, USAID has continued and expanded activities that ramp up support for Sudan’s democratic transition in three primary areas: strengthening civilian political leadership; promoting respect for human rights, including freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly; and supporting the Sudanese people’s demand for an end to their military’s longstanding domination of politics and the economy.
At the same time, humanitarian needs in Sudan continue to rise. The United Nations estimates that approximately 14.3 million people in Sudan, or nearly one-third of the population, will need humanitarian assistance in 2022, a seven percent increase from last year. This includes approximately 9.8 million people facing life-threatening levels of acute food insecurity.
The United States has long been the largest humanitarian donor to the people of Sudan. In fiscal years 2021 and 2022, the U.S. government has contributed nearly $429 million in funding to provide for the basic needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, host community members, and others. The United States will continue to meet the immense needs of the Sudanese people and urge other donors to join in these efforts.
The United States’ goal remains to help the people of Sudan fulfill their aspirations for freedom, peace, and justice.