The Role of Strategic Planning in the Sustainable Development of the Sudan, Dr. Adil Dafa’Alla, Elmouiz Hussein
Abstract: Despite its huge natural and human resources, the Sudan is seriously under-developed and its people suffer from poverty. The GDP per capita in 2021 of less than $500 is at the same level as it was in 1980 (Dafa’Alla, 2021). In addition to corruption and bad governance related to political instability, the lack of strategic planning is a major cause of the poor performance of the Sudanese economy. “Sustainable Development” aims at optimising the utilisation of the human and natural resources in a manner that builds the nations capacity, raises awareness and improves the standard of living while preserving the environment. In 2015, the UN has defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the world to achieve by the year 2030. The Sudan, like many other developing countries, is yet to genuinely start working towards any of these seventeen goals (Sachs et al, 2021). Considering the current state of the Sudanese economy, working on a national sustainable development plan for the country is now becoming more urgent than ever. According to the Balanced Scoreboard Institute (BSI), effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how it will know if it is successful (BSI, 2021). It is therefore the art of creating specific development strategies, implementing them, and evaluating the results of executing the plan, in regard to a country’s overall long-term goals or desires. It is a concept that focuses on integrating various departments/ministries within the country to accomplish its strategic goals. The outcome of this strategic planning is a strategic plan, which is a document used to communicate with the organization the organizations goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise. However, enthusiasm for and recent revival of strategic business planning made strategic planning remains relevant in modern business was given more impotence by the UN defining the SDGs in 2015 that became official on the 1st of January 2016 and setting 2030 as the deadline for achieving them. This led many countries to use the concept of strategic planning to formulate its own national development plans in order to help them achieve their strategic development goals including the SDG’s. Work done by the University of Manchester-based Strategic Network on “New” National Planning shows that the number of countries with a national development plan has more than doubled – from 62 to 134 – between 2006 and 2018, and that nearly 80 per cent of the global population now lives in a country with a national development plan of one form or another. This is because the national development plan is largely a practice-led paradigm with a body of knowledge, concepts and practices that relate both to state responses to economic globalization and to how they plan to implement Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and many developing countries are now seeking to guide their own development through a set of processes, policies and practices that can usefully be termed the ‘national development planning’. There is indeed growing evidence that this national planning process has implications not only for how countries respond to the SDGs but also in terms of the global and local challenges that they confront (Chimhowu et al, 2019). This paper is intended to critically assess the existing planning process and structure in the Sudan, evaluate its level of success in delivering the national targets of the country. It will also use system engineering principles to help draw a planning process suitable for the Sudan. Both existing and developed process will then be compared to modern practices in other developing countries. Examples from developed countries will also be given in order to draw lessons and make necessary recommendations to implement best practice in today’s Sudan.