The International Entrepreneur – Cultural Tips on Sudan: An Interview with Sudanese native Tajelsir Almutkassi

This week’s cultural tips on Sudan come to us from international business expert, Tajelsir Almutkassi. Taj originally is from Sudan’s capital of Khartoum. Taj has an American MBA and specializes in marketing. While Taj has worked in various parts of the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, he currently works and lives in Denver, Colorado, USA. You can reach Taj via twitter at @tajalmutkassi and view his Linkedin Profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/tajalmutkassi.

 

What do you see as unique cultural characteristics of Sudanese people that is reflected in Sudan’s business culture?

Sudanese are so friendly and easy going people. This is has positive and negative effects. The positive effect is that it is very easy to build trust and business relations that will make the business deals more easy and more likely. The negative effect is that, the business relations seem to be personal-business relations, rather than institutional-business relation.

What are Sudan’s most competitive industries in world markets?

Agriculture and animal production; Sudan has vast fertile land, a variety of irrigation resources (River Nile and other streams, rain, etc.), and a climate suitable for various crops. Sudan is the biggest world exporter of the Gum Arabic. Also, Sudan exports Cotton, Sugar, Oil (Sesame Oil, Sun Flower Oil, Peanut Oil); besides, fresh and frozen meat and livestock.

One of the very promising industries in Sudan yet to be discovered is, Tourism. Do you know that the number of the Pyramids in Sudan is more than the number of the Pyramids in Egypt? The Civilization in Sudan is as old as the Civilization in Egypt, if not older?

What’s the best way to find potential Sudanese business contacts?

The internet role in business started to grow. But still the best way to find potential business contacts is through people. Friends, colleagues, trade shows, and embassies.

What do you wish people knew about doing business in Sudan before they arrive in country?

Personal relations are vital. The business infrastructure is primitive.

From your perspective, what’s the business climate like for entrepreneurs (supportive vs. unsupported, culturally accepted profession vs. not accepted, etc.)?

The business climate is very entrepreneur supportive. The new ideas and creativity will get a very good reward. And there are a lot of business opportunities for both small business and big projects. But, for big projects bureaucracy and corruption might become a challenge.