Sudan's Business World

Sudan has many social and business customs of its own, and it observes many of the customs of the Muslim culture. When doing business in the Sudan, professionals will find the environment more open than some other countries, with no restrictions other than those that are common courtesy. To be successful in business, it's necessary to learn about the etiquette and customs of Sudan's business world.

Business meetings there are less formal than in some other countries; suits are seldom worn because of the hot, arid climate. Business casual dress is appropriate, but for very important conferences and presentations, a light suit and a tie is still a good idea.

As Sudan is a Muslim country, standards of dress are conservative. Both men and women should dress modestly; women should wear skirts that fall below the knee and blouses with sleeves that cover the arm. Men should take care not to wear jewelry that can be seen, especially on the neck and face.

Arabic is Sudan's official language, but for business purposes, Arabic is widely used. Business there has a social side as well; one that should not be neglected. In Sudan, a person must know, trust and like you to want to do business with you, and personal relationships are part of any long-term business deal.

Sudan's business world is hierarchical in nature, like so many other Muslim countries. The person of highest rank makes the final decision, after the group comes to a consensus (if applicable). Decisions are often made after a long deliberation, and if the decision involves a government agency, expect delays because approval often means consulting with the ministers of multiple departments. Patience is a virtue in Sudanese business; expect to make several visits to get the deal closed.

Business professionals in Sudan place great emphasis on age and experience; it's a good idea to add people with titles to your business team. The Sudanese like to avoid confrontation at all costs, and don't like saying no; expect some haggling to take place.

Most business meetings in Sudan involve the handing out of business cards. These are offered without ritual, but it's a good idea to get one side of your cards done in Arabic if you can. Always hand the card to the recipient so that they can read it easily; and if you are handed a card, take the time to read it before you put it away.

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