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Sudan Index

Population information for Sudan has been limited, but in 1990 it was clear that the country was experiencing a high birth rate and a high, but declining, death rate. Infant mortality was high, but Sudan was expected to continue its rapid population growth, with a large percentage of its people under fifteen years of age, for some time to come. The trends indicated an overall low population density. However, with famine affecting much of the country, internal migration by hundreds of thousands of people was on the increase. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that in early 1991, approximately 1,800,000 people were displaced in the northern states, of whom it was estimated that 750,000 were in Al Khartum State, 30,000 each in Kurdufan and Al Awsat states, 300,000 each in Darfur and Ash Sharqi states, and 150,000 in Ash Shamali State. Efforts were underway to provide permanent sites for about 800,000 of these displaced people. The civil war and famine in the south was estimated to have displaced up to 3.5 million southern Sudanese by early 1990.

In addition to uncertainties concerning the number of refugees, population estimates were complicated by census difficulties. Since independence there have been three national censuses, in 1955-56, 1973, and 1983. The first was inadequately prepared and executed. The second was not officially recognized by the government, and thus its complete findings have never been released. The third census was of better quality, but some of the data has never been analyzed because of inadequate resources.

The 1983 census put the total population at 21.6 million with a growth rate between 1956 and 1983 of 2.8 percent per year (see table 2, Appendix). In 1990, the National Population Committee and the Department of Statistics put Sudan's birthrate at 50 births per 1,000 and the death rate at 19 per 1,000, for a rate of increase of 31 per 1,000 or 3.1 percent per year. This is a staggering increase; compared with the world average of 1.8 percent per year and the average for developing countries of 2.1 percent per annum, this percentage made Sudan one of the world's fastest growing countries. The 1983 population estimate was thought to be too low, but even accepting it and the pre-1983 growth rate of 2.8 percent, Sudan's population in 1990 would have been well over 25 million. At the estimated 1990 growth rate of 3.1 percent, the population would double in twenty-two years. Even if the lower estimated rate were sustained, the population would reach 38.6 million in 2003 and 50.9 million by 2013.

Both within Sudan and among the international community, it was commonly thought that with an average population density of nine persons per square kilometer, population density was not a major problem. This assumption, however, failed to take into account that much of Sudan was uninhabitable and its people were unevenly distributed, with about 33 percent of the nation's population occupying 7 percent of the land and concentrated around Khartoum and in Al Awsat. In fact, 66 percent of the population lived within 300 kilometers of Khartoum (see table 3, Appendix). In 1990 the population of the Three Towns (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) was unknown because of the constant influx of refugees, but estimates of 3 million, well over half the urban dwellers in Sudan, may not have been unrealistic. Nevertheless, only 20 percent of Sudanese lived in towns and cities; 80 percent still lived in rural areas.

The birthrate between the 1973 census and the 1987 National Population Conference appeared to have remained constant at from 48 to 50 births per 1,000 population. The fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) was estimated at 6.9 in 1983. Knowledge of family planning remained minimal. During the period, the annual death rate fell from 23 to 19 per 1,000, and the estimated life expectancy rose from 43.5 years to 47 years.

For more than a decade the gross domestic product ( GDP--see Glossary) of Sudan had not kept pace with the increasing population, a trend indicating that Sudan would have difficulty in providing adequate services for its people. Moreover, half the population were under eighteen years of age and therefore were primarily consumers not producers. Internal migration caused by civil war and famine created major shifts in population distribution, producing overpopulation in areas that could provide neither services nor employment. Furthermore, Sudan has suffered a continuous "brain drain" as its finest professionals and most skilled laborers emigrated, while simultaneously there has been an influx of more than 1 million refugees, who not only lacked skills but required massive relief. Droughts in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s have undermined Sudan's food production, and the country would have to double its production to feed its expected population within the next generation. In the absence of a national population policy to deal with these problems, they were expected to worsen.

Moreover, throughout Sudan continuous environmental degradation accompanied the dearth of rainfall. Experts estimated that desertification caused by deforestation (photos | news) and drought had allowed the Sahara to advance southward at the rate of ten kilometers per year. About 7.8 million Sudanese were estimated to be at risk from famine in early 1991, according to the United Nations World Food Program and other agencies. The Save the Children Fund estimated that the famine in Darfur would cost the lives of "tens of thousands" of people in the early 1990s. Analysts believed that the lack of rainfall combined with the ravages of war would result in massive numbers of deaths from starvation in the 1990s.

Data as of June 1991

BackgroundMilitary regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years. After which, a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held. A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union on 31 December 2007. As of early 2009, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional in scope, and has brought instability to eastern Chad, and Sudanese incursions into the Central African Republic. Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Chad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
LocationNorthern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
Area(sq km)total: 2,505,813 sq km
land: 2.376 million sq km
water: 129,813 sq km
Geographic coordinates15 00 N, 30 00 E
Land boundaries(km)total: 7,687 km
border countries: Central African Republic 1,165 km, Chad 1,360 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 628 km, Egypt 1,273 km, Eritrea 605 km, Ethiopia 1,606 km, Kenya 232 km, Libya 383 km, Uganda 435 km

Coastline(km)853 km

Climatetropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season varies by region (April to November)

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Red Sea 0 m
highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m
Natural resourcespetroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 6.78%
permanent crops: 0.17%
other: 93.05% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)18,630 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)154 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 37.32 cu km/yr (3%/1%/97%)
per capita: 1,030 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsdust storms and periodic persistent droughts
Environment - current issuesinadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelargest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries
Population41,087,825 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 40.7% (male 8,535,551/female 8,173,616)
15-64 years: 56.8% (male 11,745,683/female 11,603,906)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 532,968/female 496,101) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 19.1 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 19.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)2.143% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)33.74 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)12.94 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 43% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.07 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 82.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 82.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 82.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 51.42 years
male: 50.49 years
female: 52.4 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)4.48 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese
Ethnic groups(%)black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%

Religions(%)Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum), indigenous beliefs 25%
Languages(%)Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages
note: program of "Arabization" in process

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of the Sudan
conventional short form: Sudan
local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan
local short form: As-Sudan
former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Government typeGovernment of National Unity (GNU) - the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a power-sharing government under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the NCP, which came to power by military coup in 1989, is the majority partner; the agreement stipulates national elections in 2009
Capitalname: Khartoum
geographic coordinates: 15 36 N, 32 32 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions25 states (wilayat, singular - wilayah); A'ali an Nil (Upper Nile), Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrat (Lakes), Al Jazira (Gezira), Al Khartoum (Khartoum), Al Qadarif (Gedaref), Al Wahda (Unity), An Nil al Abyad (White Nile), An Nil al Azraq (Blue Nile), Ash Shimaliyya (Northern), Bahr al Jabal (Central Equatoria), Gharb al Istiwa'iyya (Western Equatoria), Gharb Bahr al Ghazal (Western Bahr el Ghazal), Gharb Darfur (Western Darfur), Janub Darfur (Southern Darfur), Janub Kurdufan (Southern Kordofan), Junqoley (Jonglei), Kassala (Kassala), Nahr an Nil (River Nile), Shimal Bahr al Ghazal (Northern Bahr el Ghazal), Shimal Darfur (Northern Darfur), Shimal Kurdufan (Northern Kordofan), Sharq al Istiwa'iyya (Eastern Equatoria), Sinnar (Sinnar), Warab (Warab)
ConstitutionInterim National Constitution ratified 5 July 2005
note: under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution was ratified 5 July 2005; Constitution of Southern Sudan was signed December 2005

Legal systembased on English common law and Islamic law; as of 20 January 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Islamic law in the northern states; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; however, the CPA establishes some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; the southern legal system is still developing under the CPA following the civil war; Islamic law will not apply to the southern states

Suffrage17 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Salva KIIR (since 4 August 2005), Vice President Ali Osman TAHA (since 20 September 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR (since 16 October 1993); First Vice President Salva KIIR (since 4 August 2005), Vice President Ali Osman TAHA (since 20 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president; note - the National Congress Party or NCP (formerly the National Islamic Front or NIF) dominates al-BASHIR's cabinet
elections: election last held 13-23 December 2000; next to be held February 2010
election results: Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR reelected president; percent of vote - Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR 86.5%, Ja'afar Muhammed NUMAYRI 9.6%, three other candidates received a combined vote of 3.9%; election widely viewed as rigged; all popular opposition parties boycotted elections because of a lack of guarantees for a free and fair election
note: al-BASHIR assumed power as chairman of Sudan's Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC) in June 1989 and served concurrently as chief of state, chairman of the RCC, prime minister, and minister of defense until mid-October 1993 when he was appointed president by the RCC; he was elected president by popular vote for the first time in March 1996
Legislative branchbicameral National Legislature consists of a Council of States (50 seats; members indirectly elected by state legislatures to serve six-year terms) and a National Assembly (450 seats; members presently appointed, but in the future 60% from geographic constituencies, 25% from a women's list, and 15% from party lists; to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held 13-22 December 2000 (next to be held February 2010)
election results: NCP 355, others 5; note - replaced by appointments under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Judicial branchConstitutional Court of nine justices; National Supreme Court; National Courts of Appeal; other national courts; National Judicial Service Commission will undertake overall management of the National Judiciary

Political pressure groups and leadersUmma Party [SADIQ Siddiq al-Mahdi]; Popular Congress Party or PCP [Hassan al-TURABI]; Darfur rebel groups including the Justice and Equality Movement or JEM [Khalil IBRAHIM] and the Sudan Liberation Movement or SLM [various factional leaders]
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side

Economy - overviewUntil the second half of 2008, Sudan's economy boomed on the back of increases in oil production, high oil prices, and large inflows of foreign direct investment. GDP growth registered more than 10% per year in 2006 and 2007. From 1997 to date, Sudan has been working with the IMF to implement macroeconomic reforms, including a managed float of the exchange rate. Sudan began exporting crude oil in the last quarter of 1999. Agricultural production remains important, because it employs 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. The Darfur conflict, the aftermath of two decades of civil war in the south, the lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and a reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture ensure much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years despite rapid rises in average per capita income. In January 2007, the government introduced a new currency, the Sudanese Pound, at an initial exchange rate of $1.00 equals 2 Sudanese Pounds.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$88.37 billion (2008 est.)
$82.9 billion (2007 est.)
$75.22 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$58.03 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)6.6% (2008 est.)
10.2% (2007 est.)
11.3% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,200 (2008 est.)
$2,100 (2007 est.)
$1,900 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 31%
industry: 34.7%
services: 34.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force11.92 million (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 80%
industry: 7%
services: 13% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)18.7% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)18.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $11.55 billion
expenditures: $12.67 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)14.3% (2008 est.)
8% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$NA (31 December 2008)
$5.549 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$NA (31 December 2008)
$4.068 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$NA (31 December 2008)
$8.659 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Economic aid - recipient$1.829 billion (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)100% of GDP (2008 est.)
79.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscotton, groundnuts (peanuts), sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame; sheep, livestock
Industriesoil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly

Industrial production growth rate(%)0.1% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$1.314 billion (2008 est.)
-$3.447 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$11.67 billion (2008 est.)
$8.879 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)oil and petroleum products; cotton, sesame, livestock, groundnuts, gum arabic, sugar
Exports - partners(%)China 49.8%, Japan 33.4%, Indonesia 5.5% (2008)
Imports$8.229 billion (2008 est.)
$7.722 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines and chemicals, textiles, wheat
Imports - partners(%)China 20%, Saudi Arabia 8.4%, UAE 6.2%, India 6.1%, Egypt 5.5%, Italy 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.399 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$1.378 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$33.72 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$29.42 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Exchange ratesSudanese pounds (SDG) per US dollar - 2.1 (2008 est.), 2.06 (2007), 2.172 (2006), 2.4361 (2005), 2.5791 (2004)
note: in October 2007 Sudan redenominated its currency by transforming 100 units of Sudanese dinar into one unit of Sudanese pound

Currency (code)Sudanese pounds (SDG)

Telephones - main lines in use356,100 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular11.186 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: well-equipped system by regional standards and being upgraded; cellular communications started in 1996 and have expanded substantially with wide coverage of most major cities
domestic: consists of microwave radio relay, cable, fiber optic, radiotelephone communications, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: country code - 249; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2000)
Internet country code.sd
Internet users4.2 million (2008)
Airports121 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 156 km; oil 4,070 km; refined products 1,613 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 11,900 km
paved: 4,320 km
unpaved: 7,580 km (2000)

Ports and terminalsPort Sudan
Military branchesSudanese Armed Forces (SAF): Land Forces, Navy (includes Marines), Sudanese Air Force (Sikakh al-Jawwiya as-Sudaniya), Popular Defense Forces; Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA): Popular Army (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18-33 years of age for male and female compulsory and voluntary military service; 12-24 month service obligation (2009)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 9,639,923
females age 16-49: 9,321,106 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 5,836,971
females age 16-49: 5,942,043 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 498,376
female: 479,005 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)3% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalthe effects of Sudan's almost constant ethnic and rebel militia fighting since the mid-20th century have penetrated all of the neighboring states; as of 2006, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda provided shelter for over half a million Sudanese refugees, which includes 240,000 Darfur residents driven from their homes by Janjawid armed militia and the Sudanese military forces; Sudan, in turn, hosted about 116,000 Eritreans, 20,000 Chadians, and smaller numbers of Ethiopians, Ugandans, Central Africans, and Congolese as refugees; in February 2006, Sudan and DROC signed an agreement to repatriate 13,300 Sudanese and 6,800 Congolese; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia proceed slowly due to civil and ethnic fighting in eastern Sudan; the boundary that separates Kenya and Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times; Sudan claims to administer the Hala'ib Triangle north of the 1899 Treaty boundary with Egypt along the 22nd Parallel; both states withdrew their military presence in the 1990s, but Egypt has invested in and effectively administers the area; periodic violent skirmishes with Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 157,220 (Eritrea); 25,023 (Chad); 11,009 (Ethiopia); 7,895 (Uganda); 5,023 (Central African Republic)
IDPs: 5.3 - 6.2 million (civil war 1983-2005; ongoing conflict in Darfur region) (2007)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude; Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country, as well as possibly to Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude; the terrorist rebel organization, Lord's Resistance Army, continues to harbor small numbers of Sudanese and Ugandan children in the southern part of the country for use as cooks, porters, and combatants; some of these children are also trafficked across borders into Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo; militia groups in Darfur, some of which are linked to the government, abduct women for short periods of forced labor and to perpetrate sexual violence; during the two decades-long north-south civil war, thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of the Missiriya and Rezeigat tribes; while there have been no known new abductions of Dinka by members of Baggara tribes in the last few years, inter-tribal abductions continue in southern Sudan
tier rating: Tier 3 - Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; combating human trafficking through law enforcement or prevention measures was not a priority for the government in 2007 (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)4.341 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 52.1%
hydro: 47.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)3.438 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)480,200 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)86,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)303,800 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)11,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)5 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)84.95 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1.4% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS320,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths25,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61.1%
male: 71.8%
female: 50.5% (2003 est.)

Education expenditures(% of GDP)6% of GDP (1991)

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