Sudan's mercantile community is well organized through the Sudan Chamber of Commerce, which supplies information and facilitates negotiations with the authorities. The major foreign-owned trading companies, which had controlled all Sudanese trade, were nationalized in 1970.
Omdurman is a commercial center for livestock and handicrafts. The cities of El Fasher, El Gedaref, Juba, Kassala, and Wau serve as regional trade and market centers, primarily for agricultural goods. The few modern shops feature imported products. Most retail trade is conducted in open-air markets or in stalls in buildings near market centers. Because of the low literacy rate, newspaper advertising is of limited significance. Window and sidewalk displays and outdoor advertising are the principal marketing aids. An international trade fair is held annually at Khartoum.
Markets usually function from 7 AM to 2 PM , in order to escape the afternoon heat. Business hours are from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 6 to 8 PM , Saturday through Thursday, with Friday as the day of rest. Normal banking hours are 8:30 to noon, Saturday through Thursday. Government hours are 8 AM to 2:30 PM .