Home | News    Monday 31 January 2005

Dubai - Sudanese pavilion captures essence of the vast nation

Dubai, UAE, Jan 31, 2005 (Gulf News) - The best of Sudan can be found in its pavilion at Global Village.

Items on offer range from exotic natural honey to investment opportunities.

"We’re open for business," said Mubarak Abdul Basheet, an investment manager with the Ministry of Finance for the Blue Nile state, one of Sudan’s 26 semi-autonomous regions.

This south-eastern state is currently promoting investment opportunities and is peaceful.

"The fertile Blue Nile has been stable, compared to the western regions [Darfur], where there’s a raging conflict that’s been causing famine. This is a shame. since Sudan has enough resources to feed its own people," Basheet said.

Spread over an area of 38,000 square kilometres, the state has 8 million cattle and sheep, which far outnumber the state’s 700,000 inhabitants.

"Our Dindir National Protected Wildlife Sanctuary is also now attracting an increasing number of eco-tourists," said Basheet.

Mubarak Abu Bakr, from Sudan’s agricultural state of Southern Kurdufan, said rare safari animals now enjoy better protection as people realise they could make more money from eco-tourism than by culling animals for their ivory, hide or bones.

The history of both Sudan and Egypt are closely intertwined because of the Nile. Abdul Ghaful, who owns a stall in the pavilion, explained: "One little-known fact of ancient history is that our country’s Northern State is where the Pharaonic communities started."

"The sights, sounds and the smell of the pavilion all refresh my memory of familiar things at home," said Moneim Mohammad, who has been working in Dubai for eight years who visited his country’s pavilion with friends.

"This coffee is as authentic as you can get," said the 30-year-old salesman from Khartoum after sipping from his cup of Jabana, the Sudanese brew.

Also found in the pavilion are different kinds of nuts, hibiscus tea and sugar, among the country’s main agricultural products.

Sudan, a big exporter of sun flower oil, also produces pulses, cereals and wheat but mostly for local consumption, said Ebrahim M., a representative of the Sudanese embassy.

Elfaki Hashim, Sudan’s ambassador to the UAE, and Noor Al Huda, economic adviser at the embassy, opened their country’s national pavilion, alongside Ebrahim Abdul Rahim, the managing director of Global Village.

Elyaz Mohammad, insurance manager for Sudan Air, which has a stall in the pavilion, said they serve members of the 100,000 Sudanese citizens living in the UAE.

Among Sudan’s best products, however, is its natural honey, a favourite of Gulf nationals.

"Honey is considered one of the best foods. It is the only food that does not spoil, even for thousands of years, as can be seen in honey discovered inside the pyramids," said Musab Moosa, a 20-year-old salesman.

Sudanese honey costs from Dh60 to Dh135 per kg.

Ishraga A’taip, a honey trader from Umm Durman, in eastern Sudan, said she hopes to sell about 500kg of honey at Global Village.

"Honey is good for you health and longevity."