Sudan’s Transitional government says it is looking forward to discussions with lenders to help restructure its debt and free up funds to reconstruct the economy.
At a donors’ pledging conference on Thursday, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said the pledges and debt relief could help Sudan rise again.
“We are working to implement what is required to bring peace and secure the democratic transition,” he said at a virtual meeting on “Friends of Sudan Conference”.
The World Bank pledged a grant of $400 million to Sudan in a meeting that saw 40 different partners promise to send in a total of $1.8 billion.
But Sudan’s other concern, according to Mr Hamdok, was to help relieve its debt burden, currently estimated at $60 billion.
Sudan is not currently a participant on the World Bank’s debt Service Suspension Initiative, a joint programme with the G20 to help low-income countries delay their loan repayment so they can free up money to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sudan’s debt was about 212 per cent of its GDP in 2018, during the heat of protests that eventually ousted Omar al-Bashir.
Countries participating in the Conference said they would help Khartoum’s recovery. The donors, mainly from Western and Arab nations, urged the country’s political stakeholders to rally around the transitional government and move the country to full democracy.
Call for support
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who joined the meeting, said the Sudanese transitional government had made tangible progress, but will need more support to overcome their challenges.
Dr Abiy said Sudan needs to be relieved from sanctions by the UN, which he argued have crippled the country.
The UN sanctioned Sudan 15 years ago to tame the violence in Darfur. Now, a panel of experts is expected to table an interim report to the UN Security Council by August, which could determine if the sanctions will be lifted.
However, Khartoum is also faced with sanctions from the US government, which have hindered external investors from transacting with the country
Washington, however, says it has supported Sudan’s transition with $365 million this year, according to John Pars from the US Agency for International development.
"We will assist Sudan in a safe transition towards peace,” he told the conference.
Other donors included France, which announced 100 million euros and Germany which pledged 150 million euros before the end of 2020.
The United Arab Emirates announced the provision of $300 million, Spain pledged three million euros, besides forgiving 74 million euros worth of debt once discussions with Khartoum are complete.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “We must be able to mobilise financial support for Sudan, and the world needs Sudan as a democratic country.”