Sudan has the world’s seventh largest cattle inventory. In 2009 Sudan official sources estimated cattle numbers at 41.653 million, sheep 51.555 million, goats 43.270 million and camels 4.521 million. In addition to these there were also 7.515 million donkeys and 784 thousand horses.

While not as large as its domestic economic contribution, livestock’s share of exports is considerable, and it is growing. Official reports from the 1950s through the early 1970s suggest that livestock and livestock products constituted about 6-7% of official agricultural exports in most years. Since 1997, however, officially recorded livestock exports have averaged 27% of agricultural exports, rising to up to 47% in 2009. Over this period live sheep have been Sudan’s most important livestock export commodity, followed in importance by hides and skins, camels, and goats. The great bulk of live sheep and goats that are officially exported go to Saudi Arabia following quarantine.

Most livestock are exported as live cattle to the Middle East. Underdeveloped value chains offer a wide range of investment opportunities from beef fattening and breeding to processing and exporting of chilled or frozen high-value meat products.