An examination of the role of local markets and their contribution to the development process in selected parts of Sudan
Sudan is a developing country with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, but with great potential. This thesis examines the role of local markets in Sudan and attempts to make some assessment of their contribution to social and economic development. Two contrasting areas were selected for fieldwork: first, a part of the Gezira, which is a reasonably developed area. Commercial farming is led by cotton production mainly for export, under the famous Gezira Scheme, which has been operating since 1925. Second, the Nuba Mountains which is a less developed and more remote area. Cotton was introduced here at the same time as in the Gezira but under traditional wet-season farming. For the purpose of the study three questionnaires were designed for interviewing the participants in the daily activity of the markets. These participants were permanent traders, semi-permanent traders and market visitors. A survey was made of the functions performed, and the range of goods offered by the market centres. In each case close examination allowed a categorization of the characteristics of the markets according to periodicity and permanency, hierarchies, and commodities exchanged. The degree of dependence of both traders and market visitors on the markets for livelihood is also examined. The thesis has also attempted the analysis of the multiple role of the markets in the socio-economic life of the people. Particular emphasis is made on the spread of knowledge, information, and demonstration effects, covering the period since the last World War. Clear differences are apparent between the two areas and comparisons are also made of their social and economic contribution to development. The thesis concludes by examining a number of lessons that are apparent, and suggestions for further development of local marketing, and for the spread of innovation and general modernization.