Sustainable Development Strategies For Rural Nubian Communities

Issues   &   Directives


Dr Abdel Gadir Shalabi

Cosultant/Health and Community Development

Napata Organization for Sustainable Development in Rural Nubia,



A Network  for Nubian Establishments and Organizations 






It is very difficult for people who have not been to  Wadi Halfa, Sikkout and Mahas to imagine nor appreciate the extent of disaster and destruction that has befallen that region in the past 20 years. The Nubian  region has always been famous for its agriculture and the abundant production of wheat ,beans and dates .The keen interest of Nubians in education and learning is also well documented .However ,the systematic and deliberate obliteration of economic, agricultural and educational development has led within this short period of time to the complete marginalization of the region and the reduction of its people to absolute poverty and destitution ..Not unexpectedly ,this situation compelled Nubians to desert their land and immigrate to other cities within Sudan and abroad in pursuit of better economic and living conditions.

Never the less the authorities neither   sympathized with the Nubians nor recognized their predicaments and ordeals .They even went to the extent of obstructing external help from  International Organizations. The discontinuation of  UNICEF’s project  for children friendly villages and the Christian Organization’s medical services are just two examples that portray vividly the authorities blatant enmity towards the  Nubian Race and their  intentions for their  replacement by other population  groups.

The  Nubian Network is therefore envisioned as a movement for development aiming at   encouraging the Nubians to remain in their original  regions and providing them with better opportunities to explore and develop the land ,water and mineral resources and  utilize the benefits to improve education, agriculture and health facilities as well as    to maintain ,preserve and develop their cultural values and heritage .

The purpose of this paper is to identify the directives of the strategies for sustainable development of the Nubian Region which would hopefully be conducive to the Nubian race to return, reclaim their land and develop the Nubian Region.



Issue 1 :

The Nievasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement  (CPA)


On the distribution of wealth and power and the right of different ethnic groups in Sudan to keep and develop their own  heritage , languages, arts and customs.

This direct the strategies to:



Directives :


1-     Stepping  into the future feeling reassured , confident and secure .

2-     Claiming the share of the Nubian Region in power and wealth.

3-     Establishing  local governance that rejects political and ethnic dominance and marginalization or any other action imposed on the Nubians from the center.   





Issue 2:

The Right of Nubians to the Nubian Basin is  an essential prerequisite to Nubian Development


 “Nubians without the basin are a people without  a future”

The basin is a very fertile and virgin land with the largest reservoir of underground water in Africa and the Middle East estimated at 5500 million cubic meters found at  depths of 12 to 50 meters )




      1-Ensuring the ownership of the Nubians to the Basin

      2-Distributing  the Basin lands  between Wadi Halfa and Al Ghaddar(6.4  million Acres) among Nubian cooperative societies and development establishments.

3-Transferring the ownership  of agricultural land plots to the poor and destitute.

4-Desgnation of additional lands for investment by  local and international companies and individuals  without undermining the right of Nubians to benefit from these lands through   ownership ,leasing and letting.  . 

5-Discouraging any expansionist tendencies by countries neighboring the basin .

6-Endorsing the right of Nubians to  developing the basin and the region and compensating them for the lands lost in the past.


Issue 3:

The River Nile


The Nubian Nile is a gift of God to the Nubians who as the original inhabitants of the lands between the first cataract and Souba –on blue Nile- for thousands of years, have  diligently  guarded its waters ,cataracts and gates until they were forcefully moved from the Nubian  Niles lower and central regions.


Directives :


1-     The Nubians benefiting from the River Nile and from the silt and fish it carries.

2-     Avoid contaminating the  waters and the environment by unregulated polluting industries .

3-     Optimal use of the new Nubian Delta and the establishment of environment friendly industries ,agricultural projects and reservations .



Issue 4:

The Nubian Sun


The Nubian Sun is so described because of its long ,bright and year-long shine and profuse  emission of solar energy  unequalled in any other part of the world. We should always remember  the speech of great Biankhi who said,” Nubians; Raise your(thy) heads high and  let the Sun shine on your(thy)  foreheads ,for we(Thee art) the descendants of that Sun .”




1-     Solar energy of the Nubian Lands is an unmatched and unending source of  energy .

2-     Awaiting the promises to extend electric power to the Nubian region may delay development  for many more years.

3-     Starting immediately to rehabilitate schools, hospitals and health centers, farms and  mosques etc with  solar energy .





Issue 5 :



Gold and other minerals have always been and for thousands of years a strong and significant incentive that encouraged  foreigners  to  colonize the Nubians. A prominent archeologist once said,” The amount of iron mined from the area between Kaboushya and Shandi was more than the iron mined from Birmingham in the United Kingdom and which  supported  the industrial revolution in Europe .’


Directives :


1-     Returning the mines in Atteri ,Dweishat and Absari to the Nubians.

2-     Exploring for new gold mines and other minerals in the area.

3-     Directing the income generated from these mines to the economic and social development of the Nubian region .




Issue 6 :

The Nubian Woman


It is well  documented in history that  many Nubian women such as Amnardes , Amani  Shekhto and Aabar Baankhi’s  mother were famous for their wisdom, strength of will and   abilities for sound leadership  have excelled as queens ,army commanders and High priestesses.



1-     Empower  Nubian Women to play their rightfully deserved role in social and economic development . for political leadership.

2-     Allow  Nubian Women to compete for political  power and  leadership.






Issue 7 :



Observers of the state of the Nubian borders at present  would hardly  believe that  7000 years ago the Nubian border was at Al Shallal village near Aswan .The gates at Elephentine Island to which Nubian pilgrims used to visit annually  during the Nile floods season  ,still stand witness  to mark  the border between Ancient  Nubia and Egypt .

Although Lower and Middle Nubia were colonized repeatedly by the Egyptians in ancient times ,they were never officially annexed to Egypt  until 1899 ac as per the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty i.e. only about 100 years ago  .This date marked the start of submerging Nubian lands gradually by building Dams and unregulated irrigation schemes .Moreover ,the Nubian borders were moved south from Al Shallal to latitude 22 North south of the current Egyptian border against the will the Nubians norths and south of this artificial border.


Directives :


1-     The tendency to build more dams and hence systematically submerge more Nubian Lands and with them Nubian history and heritage, leads to up-routing  and displacing the  Nubians and passing the ownership of their  land unlawfully to foreigners .

2-     Marginalization policies since independence that targeted the eviction of Nubians and Arabizatin of the region .

3-     The Nubian Basin is  Nubian Land , historically  and geographically .

4-     Revision of the agreements signed by the governments of Egypt and Sudan against the will of the Nubians and in the absence of freedom and transparency, noting the prevailing corruption of  political arena  at the time which favored a few carefully selected beneficiaries from the two countries.


Issue 8:

Ancient History and Heritage Preservation


Nubia is literally an open museum and the only remaining site for prospective  archeological excavations that would provide  further evidence to verify ancient historical theories.




1-         Stop submerging more Nubian lands and with them important historical evidence by constructing more dams , passing  these lands into non-nubians hands and thus endangering the very existence of Nubia.

2-         Preservation and protection of ancient remains as material historical evidence and for the education of new generations. 

3-         Establishing research and  education projects  for further studies  specially in the fields of anthropology, ancient history, heritage, Nubian language and arts and working towards teaching  the nubian language in primary schools.

4-         Creating an infrastructure of qualified scientists and scholars in Nubiology to promote and protect Nubian history and heritage and sponsoring such schemes from  revenues of the Nubian Basin and New Delta projects and the Nubians share of national wealth.(Ref. Nubian Trust Fund for Nubian Studies)



Issue 9:

Agriculture and modern technology


The Nubians have always been   dependent  on agricultural products for their livelihood and additional income mainly dates, wheat and beans.




1-     Improving and modernizing agriculture through  optimum utilization of available agricultural technology specially solar energy and tissue culture

2-       Introduction of new agricultural products that may be effective in controlling poverty and disease such as the Moringa oliveira tree.

3-      Introduction of solar energy into  small farms ranging in area between 5 and 10 acres on the Nile banks and  islands.

4-     Establishing a tissue culture laboratory in the region to support  date palm research and development .


Issue 10:

Education and Solar Energy


Recent  policies led to the deterioration of education as a  result of negligence , exorbitant school fees and acute shortage of teachers .This is followed by the  emigration of Nubians  in persuit of economic opportunities and better education for their children.




1-          Introduction of solar energy to all the schools in the region .

2-          Facilitating the use of modern audio-visual educational aids specially  computers ,the internet and remote on-line teaching .



Issue 11:



The pulmonary tuberculosis outbreak in west Sulaim ,Sukkout and Mahas of Nubia in 1999 at a time when the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis was well known and easily accessible, was a clear indication of  the collapse of public health  in the Nubian Region. This was accompanied by :-

*Obstructing the efforts of foreign aid and non-governmental organizations. The  rejection of the help of the Germanic Hospital in Aswan  for fear of converting Nubians to Christianity was a classical example of the naivety of the authorities who seemed to forget that the Nubians who introduced monotheism in the world ,are  not that easy convert.

*Using the same unfounded excuse to prevent foreign volunteers mainly from Germany, to work in Abri and Dalgo hospitals.

*Rejecting UNICEF’s   assistance to support the 12 baby-friendly villages in Sekout   with the excuse that the area does not need such services.




1-     Revision of the public health system in the region.

2-     Resuming free primary health care services specially maternal and child health, nutrition and health education  ,environmental health and disease control  programs, vaccination against infectious diseases and provision of essential drugs .

3-     Maintaining and restoring all health and medical institutions ,safe water supply and introduction of solar energy.








Issue 12 :

Nubian Relationship with Egypt and Sudan.


Most Nubians living  in Egypt find it extremely difficult to return or even visit their original homes ,lands and relatives  in lower Nubia .This occurs consistently in spite of the fact that continuous interaction and special relationships used to existed between Nubians south and north of Adindan prior to the  last submergence and until the sessation of the Nile steamers traveling between Wadi Halfa and Aswan and the transfer of  the customs authorities.


Directives :


1-     Calling for enhancing and fostering the relationship between the two Nubian regions in Egypt and Sudan by allowing Nubians to return from New Halfa and Kom Umbu to  their  original lands from which they were unwillingly evicted .

2-     Demanding compensation for the returnees in both Egypt  and  Sudan to facilitate reestablishing an infrastructure of education and health services ,electricity safe water supply  and a transportation network of roads ,airports and railways  giving priority to  projects for sustainable development .

3-     Discouraging agreements concerning Nubian lands and water without the prior approval of Nubians through lawful and transparent referenda and abolishing any agreements signed in the past without the participation  and consent of Nubians .



Issue 13:

Non-Governmental and Foreign Organizations



The Nubian  region  witnessed a series of significant ancient civilizations that are still receiving wide attention and much interest from the world community  which calls for   preserving this important heritage. The Nubians laud , appreciate  and commend the   efforts the United Nations Organizations for saving important ancient Nubian monuments ,UNICEF  for participating in the child friendly villages project , WHO for supporting the provision of  safe water supply and many European  Voluntary Organizations specially from Holland and Germany for their formidable contribution to alleviate the suffering of Nubians.


Directives :


      1- The Nubian Network must cooperate and work  closely  with Non-governmental      and    Foreign organizations

2- Demanding acknowledgement of the Nubians rights and  need for development .

3- The Network must act as the coordinator   between members, organizations and donors


Issue 14

New Halfa


Many Nubians who emigrated to the Khashm Al Girba area are now suffering from the  impact of excessive silt sedimentation from AlGash river floods which affected almost 80%of the storage capacity of the Dam .Moreover the Miskeet trees also invaded agricultural lands and  epidemics of malaria ,dysentery and malnutrition further contributed  to reducing  the remaining resources and thus negatively affecting  education, health and other services. The consequences of such drawbacks  led to reverse immigration  of Nubians not Wadi Halfa as logically envisaged  ,but to the outskirts of Khartoum and other inner cities.


Directive :


1-     Encouraging those who wish to return to their original villages in Wadi Halfa .

2-     Giving returnees lands on the banks of the River Nile near their villages and in the Nubian Basin Triangle.

3-     Supporting  cooperative societies and other  development  projects  from the profits of the Nubians’ share in national  wealth  , the income from the Nubian Basin Triangle and the projects of the New Delta.




Issue 15:

Threats and New opportunities


The Nubians, like the people of Sudan ,Egypt and the rest of the world ,are experiencing at present the consequences and repercussions of :

-         Information Technology Revolution

-         The introduction of new ,clean and non-polluting alternative energy sources .

-         The effects of land ,water and air pollution.

                  -    The new and reemerging diseases

-         CPA and the sharing of wealth and power as a fundamental prerequisite to new opportunities




1-     Recognition, monitoring and evaluation of  these factors for optimum utilize.

             2-  Coordination with governmental and non-governmental , making optimum      use of available technology ,acceleration of the process of sustainable development and protection the waters of Lake Nubia from pollution.

3- Implementation of the provisions of CPA regarding the sharing of wealth and the rights of minorities and original inhabitants of Sudan.





The Nubian Diaspora


Many scholars and experts  in the field of Nubian Development believe that there are at least 6 million Nubians in Diaspora at present ,residing in  many cities in Egypt and Sudan as well as other countries specially:

-The united Kingdom

-The United States of America


-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

-Other European countries

-Other Arabian Gulf countries




1-     Strengthening and accelerating communication with the Nubians in Diaspora.

2-     Making optimum use of their experience specially in management .

3-     Encouraging  financial and logistic support and inviting them to participate in development and  invest the Nubian Region.

4-     Fostering  partnership between  Nubian Groups and nongovernmental and foreign organizations .



Dr Abdel Gadir Shalabi

Cosultant/Health and Community Development

Napata Organization for Sustainable Development in Rural Nubia,

June 2005