Arab, Western states pledge $1.5bn for Sudan at donor event

UN’s Guterres says region needs ‘stable, democratic Sudan’ as Sudanese PM Hamdok underlines country’s ‘many challenges’.

Inflation topped an annual 100 percent last month and Sudan's currency has plunged to 141 to the dollar on the black market compared with the official rate of 55 [File: AFP]
Inflation topped an annual 100 percent last month and Sudan's currency has plunged to 141 to the dollar on the black market compared with the official rate of 55 [File: AFP]

Western and Arab countries have pledged $1.5bn at a conference hosted by Germany to help Sudan ease an economic crisis hampering its transition towards democracy after the fall of leader Omar al-Bashir.

The European Union on Thursday pledged 312 million euros ($350m), the United States $356m, Germany 150 million euros ($168m) and France 100 million euros ($112m) for various specific projects, among them planned cash transfers to poor families with the help of the World Bank, officials said at the online event.

The United Kingdom pledged 150 million pounds ($186m) and the United Arab Emirates $300m.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, running Sudan under a precarious, transitional power-sharing deal with the military since al-Bashir’s overthrow in a popular uprising last year, is desperate for more foreign support.

Hamdok warned that without it, instability could spread through a volatile region in east and northeastern Africa and disaffected young people would keep migrating by sea to Europe.

“We expect our partners to support us to have a successful transition,” he said. “I do not want to paint a rosy picture. Any transition is messy and there are so many challenges.”

Inflation topped an annual 100 percent last month and Sudan’s currency has plunged to 141 to the US dollar on the black market compared with the official rate of 55.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “massive” aid, saying the region needed a stable and democratic Sudan.

He gave no figure but the pledges reported so far were well below the $8bn in aid that Hamdok said in August 2019 was needed to turn around an economy in crisis since Sudan lost almost all its oil revenue when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

The family cash scheme is seen as key to softening the blow from the removal of fuel and other subsidies demanded by would-be Western donors and which cost an estimated $3bn annually.

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi told the event the government was reforming fuel subsidies, without giving details.

Source : Reuters

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