World Bulletin/News Desk
When Sudanese school teacher Abdelaziz Ibrahim enters a market in Khartoum to buy food for his family to break the fast in the Muslim month of Ramadan he doesn't even bother checking meat prices. There's no point - it's far too expensive.
"Food prices have gone up like crazy. We can rarely afford meat anymore so we'll have to eat more vegetables," said Ibrahim, who bought tomatoes and beans after checking prices at several makeshift stands for a long time.
"This is the worst Ramadan we've ever had," said the teacher, who needs to feed six children, his wife and his mother at his home in north Khartoum.
Food prices always go up across Muslim countries during Ramadan when people like to enjoy long evening meals, or iftars. But in Sudan, an economic crisis exacerbated by the loss of three-quarters of its oil wealth after arch-foe South Sudan became independent a year ago has made things even worse.
Faced with a gaping budget deficit due to the loss, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has unveiled austerity measures that have sparked small demonstrations.
In Khartoum and other large cities the protests have petered out after a security crackdown and the start of Ramadan when most people stay indoors all day. Sudanese activists estimate more than 1,000 people were detained before that since June, though the figures are impossible to verify.
Protests have so far been much smaller than those seen in Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen with mainly students, lawyers and intellectuals demanding an end to Bashir's 23-year rule.
Bashir has dismissed the protests as insignificant. But rising food prices risk upsetting a larger number of people at a time when people like to socialise all night after fasting.
"We're cutting and cutting on food and drinks. Every iftar costs at least 40 pounds because we are seven at home," said Ibrahim Ali, a 70-year old retired civil servant.
His family's iftar now mainly consists of ful, a poor man's diet consisting of beans, and they can only afford to drink tamarind juice sometimes.
The loss of oil deprived Sudan of its main source of dollars needed to fund its food imports. Annual inflation hit 41.6 percent in July, almost triple the figure of 15 percent registered just over a year earlier before South Sudan became independent.
Even prices for locally produced food such as lamb are soaring because the government is scaling back fuel subsidies, pushing up transport costs in the vast country.
A kilo of lamb meat costs 50 pounds ($9), compared to 35 pounds a year ago. A kilo of tomatoes costs up to 30 pounds, double the price last year.
While many Arab capitals bustle with life after iftar most of Khartoum's dusty streets are deserted. The last cafe in the biggest hotel on the Blue Nile banks closes at midnight, a time when Ramadan nightlife is just starting in earnest in Cairo.
"We cannot afford eating out at restaurants. No way," said Ibrahim, the high-school teacher.
The government is pinning its hopes on an interim oil deal it reached with South Sudan last week, ending a row that led the south to shut down its entire southern oil production in January.
Under the agreement, South Sudan will resume oil exports through northern pipelines and pay a transit fee of around $10 a barrel. Juba will also transfer $3 billion over three years to compensate Sudan for the loss of its oil reserves.
"The oil agreement will stabilise the economic situation," Abdelrahman Dharar, state finance minister, told reporters on Thursday. "The dollar will decline against the pound."
Yet oil exports will only resume if both sides can reach a border security deal, one of several disputes left unresolved after South Sudan became independent.
Even if there is a breakthrough, Sudan is unlikely to see any oil fees until early next year because the oil firms need time to prepare oil production after the shutdown, diplomats say.
Buoyed by the deal, the Sudanese pound has edged up against the dollar on the black market. But dealers say it will fall again unless oil money arrives soon.
"We are suffering so much. We are just trying to cope," said El-Tayeb Ali, a construction worker with no permanent job.
Traders fear Chinese government will withdraw support measures markets
European Commission president 'convinced' three-year plan will boost investment in EU
Deal aims to bolster fight against tax fraud through exchange of financial information on Turks holding accounts in US and vice versa
Vessels were delivered to port of Alexandria on June 17
The economic cost of violence according to the 2015 Global Peace Index has reached a staggering $14.3 trillion with Syria the least peaceful country.
The leading opposition lawmaker has said that Turkish President Erdogan is open to all possiblities for a coalition.
Qatar has filed a lawsuit against the leader of the National Front in France for his comments regarding "terror" activities.
Saudi Arabia will put in place an electronic bracelet system for all pilgrims visiting the country to perform their Hajj duties.
After U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was poised to raise interest rates, European stock markets fall.
Italian company Enel will invest 18 billion euro for renewable energy sources in Africa.
Azerbaijani president said in a statement that Southern Gas Corridor project will supply neighboring and European countries for a 100 years
Oil prices rose above $60 due to Iran's call for oil production cut
Economic growth in the Euro-Zone is not at desired levels.
Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance at Standard & Poor's says that growing market for sukuk and new players mark 'significant interest' in Islamic finance.
The Ministry of Finance said that Denmark has written to China to "announce its intention to apply to be a founding member" of the AIIB.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.