The 2019 Sudanese uprising – fueled by years of authoritarian rule, a worsening economy, and systemic marginalization and violence – has led to a transitional government with a civil and military component. An eventual transition to full civilian rule will depend on the civil component’s ability to establish its legitimacy and carry out much-needed reform, particularly with regards to the economy. This provides an opening for donors and the wider international community, which in the past struggled to encourage the former regime towards democracy, and in some cases enabled authoritarian practices.
In 2020, through political economy mapping, European policy makers should invest and support the more liberal sections of the Sudanese economy, and provide opportunities for the civil component to secure tangible, quick project results. It is impossible to identify entirely ‘clean’ sections of the current political settlement to work with, but if nothing happens and the economy continues to stagnate, the legitimacy of the civil side may expire due to a lack of tangible improvements in citizens’ lives.