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Before the split in 2011 Sudan was the biggest country in Africa. It also has the longest running civil war of the 21st Century, starting two years after independence and nine years after the merging of North and South Sudan into one administrative region by the British Empire. There are many reasons for the war, including Religion, Tribes, Clans, Political Ideologies and Race, yet the main reason can be put down to the financial policy followed by leaders since independence, which has consistently been to send all the wealth to the capital Khartoum [Cockett pg 6-55].

Sudan is amongst the richest countries in the World in terms of resources, it has oil and cotton, and many factors contributing to its tourism including almost three times as many pyramids than Egypt, the infamous River Nile, including the spot where the Blue and White Niles merge into one and Red Sea beaches. There is more than enough wealth to be able to develop the nation and create a high standard of living for all, but the leaders have traditionally been under the impression that if you look after Khartoum, you will stay in power.

In fact most of the politicians in places of power under all the different regimes studied at Khartoum University and their families are often intermarried. Therefore in order to please those who can make or break presidents you must look after Khartoum.

Financial reasons are believed to be part of the reason why despite there being war in the West, East and South of Sudan, the Capital has been classed as a very safe place by African standards and the War never reaches Khartoum, even the biggest refugee camp in the World known as the ‘Black Belt’ is unknown by most Khartoum residents despite it surrounding Khartoum. The US federal bureau: the ‘Overseas Security Advisory Council’ claims in its 2015 report that no attacks have been made against American citizens in Khartoum within twelve months, although this also applies to all of North & Central Sudan, which is are not facing war like the rest of the nation/s [OSAC 2015].

This is a phenomenon also seen in many parts of the world, where capital cities are often developed whilst the countryside is often left behind. One reason for this is often that the foreigners, whether diplomats or tourists, are more likely to see the city, whilst the country is far removed from anywhere that they may travel.

In China there is a huge difference in wealth between the cities and the countryside. China is the richest country in the World and it is obvious to see when you look at the cities, which are amongst the most advanced in the World. Yet China despite being the richest country in the World, it also has the largest population, 807 million, 61.6%, of which live in rural areas [Wu, 2007].

Whilst the World wealth division already has a ratio of 1.5:1 in favor of the cities in comparison to 2.9:1 in China in 2001. The number of which has been growing quickly. Also when taking into account the welfare benefits which people in the countryside find hard to claim due to their isolation, these include housing benefit and healthcare, the ratio is 5:1 [Wu, 2007].

Greig Cameron, deputy business editor at The Herald believes it is extremely important to have a strong and developed capital as it: “is a key benchmark in the status and profile of any country.” Yet Cameron also believes that a developed capital city can generate wealth that can benefit the entire population of a nation [http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/opinion/13193745.A_strong_capital_city_provides_a_wealth_of_opportunities/, 2014]. As a capital is where administration is adopted and decided upon and therefore may need extra resources, this also includes local capitals of administrative regions as well as of a nation.

London is amongst the richest cities in the World and this is slightly balanced as the price of goods is higher than almost any other city in the World, it is certainly richer than the average wealth of Britain. But within London there are many deprived neighbourhoods, constituencies within London, Liverpool, Manchester and Middlesbrough are among the ten poorest in Britain [Beattie 2014]. If the rewards of Imperialism are gained mainly by the rich within the Imperialist nation, then the benefits of Wealth being centralised in capital cities would be of benefit to rich within those cities. In fact many Triad nations have started a process of gentrification within their major cities, pushing the poor out and moving in more middle class people to replace them. So it’s not just the resources and wealth that are being centralised but also the people. In India many people in the ‘Tribal Districts’ in the countryside are being forcibly removed from their lands to make way for corporations to build there [http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/31/land-conflict-and-injustice/].

Although many will quite rightly say that money should be distributed fairly, this doesn’t take into account the needs and requirements of a functional city, where life can be far more complicated than in most parts of the countryside. However in the cases of Sudan and China, we see that it is not just wealth for business or administration that is disproportionally going to the cities, but also the people are better off. In China both wages and access to benefits are far better in cities than countryside.

In many large and ‘underdeveloped’ countries there are neighbourhoods which are self-sufficient and have existed as such in decades or even centuries. This is not always the case and some areas depend on aid from the cities to get by or become targets for sweatshops looking for cheap labour.

The urbanisation seen in the last century shows how this disparity has grown with the rise of Capitalism and many wonder whether any sort of wealth equality can be achieved under a system that is based on making profits rather than making a country work. The Chinese revolution was not fought mainly by the proletariat, but rather the peasants and the Chinese Communist Party would do well to remember that fact.

Huseyin Diakides

Bibliography

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