Wad Madani is the capital of the Al Jazirah state in east-central Sudan. Wad Madani lies on the West Bank of the Blue Nile, nearly 85 miles (136 km) southeast of Khartoum. It is linked by rail to Khartoum and is the center of a cotton-growing region. The city is also the center of local trade in wheat, peanuts, barley, and livestock. It is also headquarters of the Irrigation Service. In 2008, its population was 345,290. It is the home of the Wad Medani Ahlia College, a private university.
In the early 18th century, Wad Madani was a small Turko-Egyptian outpost, and grew rapidly following the 1925 Gezira Scheme of irrigation to stimulate local economic development. Wad Madani is a commercial centre of the Gezira agricultural district and is mostly residential. Wad Madani has lively commercial activities with good souqs. The beaches of Wad Madani are situated on the eastern river bank of the Blue Nile, which flows into Sudan from Ethiopia. The city's facilities are more modernized than most places in the Sudan (except the Khartoum area).