Shopping in Sudan

Darfur is not exactly a shoppers’ paradise. The sand and heat make it a bit much to spend the whole day browsing the stalls, although parking is not really a problem. But it’s amazing what you can find. In El Fasher I’ve seen jars of sour cherries, bottles of Spanish olive oil and fridges packed with Camembert. On my most recent trip I found iPods in the market where smart electrical shops are opening. It’s a far cry from the region’s blood-soaked, sun-scorched image.
So what about the sanctions? Andrew Heavens, Reuters shopping correspondent in Khartoum, has come up with a nice piece on the US brands that fill Sudan’s shelves (combined with similar reporting from Tehran).

Driving through the traffic-choked streets of Khartoum and Tehran, you could forget that Sudan and Iran have been hit by years of U.S. sanctions. Leaving Sudan’s main airport, one of the first things you see is the ultimate symbol of American capitalism — the classic form of a Coca-Cola bottle printed on multi-coloured banners, next to a huge hoarding for rival Pepsi.