Gum arabic may change course of Sudan war

Published May 2nd, 2023 - 07:47 GMT
gum arabic
(Shutterstock/ file photo)
Fighting started in Sudan on April 15.

ALBAWABA - Sudan's exports of gum arabic, which is a key ingredient in many industries including soft drinks, candy as well as some makeup products, are likely to be affected by the escalating violence ripping through the East African nation.

Many international companies rely on Sudan to get gum arabic such as Coca-Cola and Pepsico as the African country is the world's largest producer of gum arabic.

According to sources, Sudan exports about 70 percent of the world's supply of gum arabic, which is produced from the acacia trees in the Sahel region.

Reuters reported that trade in gum has ground to a halt amid the war in Sudan which started on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Some experts have been debating that since huge companies rely on gum arabic that is mainly produced in Sudan, the firms may help in changing the course of events and calming the fighting in the country to prevent a dwindling production, if the war dragged on.

Despite international calls for a political solution and an end to fighting in Sudan, many truce deals were reached between the warring Sudanese parties, but were repeatedly violated, pointing to the impossibility of reaching a solution to the conflict in the near future.

Richard Finnegan, a procurement manager at Kerry Group, a supplier of gum arabic to most major food and drink firms, said that current stockpiles of gum arabic may run out in five to six months, leaving companies in limbo. 

Experts suggested that companies with more need of gum arabic may pressure world leaders into meddling to reach a truce and to put an end to the war in Sudan. However, few reportedly said that companies may look for a substitute to import gum arabic, such as France and Germany, as according to World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS), France and Germany were one of the top exporters of gum arabic in 2021.

The United Nations said that at least 330,000 people were internally displaced since the start of the fighting between SAF and RSF on April 15. Furthermore, 110,000 others fled violence to neighboring countries.

Sudan Doctors' Syndicate said that over 400 civilians were killed and 2,023 were injured in Sudan in over two weeks of clashes.

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