World Bank allocates $ 2 billion to finance projects in Sudan



CAIRO (AP) – The World Bank on Monday announced it had allocated $ 2 billion to cash-strapped Sudan as the transitional government struggled to cope with the country’s economic woes for decades.

The funds would be used to finance large infrastructure projects with others to help displaced people over the next 12 months, said Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s vice president for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Ghanem was in Khartoum on Monday where he met Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim, according to the prime minister’s office.

The announcement came about two months after Sudan cleared all of its overdue payments to the World Bank. The move enabled Khartoum’s transitional government to access new types of international funding for the first time in nearly three decades.

The World Bank said at the time that the payment was made after the United States provided $ 1.15 billion in interim financing to help Sudan settle its arrears.

Ghanem is said to have said that the international community appreciates the Sudanese government’s efforts to develop the economy and fight poverty while embarking on “crucial economic reforms”.

Sudan is now on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led to the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The country has since sought to reintegrate into the community international after three decades of isolation.

The government has also sought to overhaul the country’s economy. It has taken a series of reform measures in recent months, including a managed IPO of the Sudanese pound. This unprecedented step has led to increases in the price of fuel and other essential goods.

Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted an international conference to offer debt relief for the East African country. Sudan’s external debt is $ 70 billion.

Sudan has for years faced a series of economic challenges, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essentials and soaring prices for bread and other basic commodities. The country’s annual inflation rate exceeded 340% in March, one of the highest in the world.

The country plunged into economic crisis when the oil-rich south seceded in 2011 after decades of war, taking more than half of public revenues and 95% of exports.

Sudan was also an international outcast after being placed on the United States’ list of supporting terrorism in the 1990s. This has largely excluded the country from the global economy.

Former President Donald Trump removed Sudan from the blacklist after the transitional government agreed to pay $ 335 million in compensation for victims of attacks carried out by then-Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network that the terrorist leader was living in Sudan. The withdrawal also prompted Sudan to normalize its relations with Israel.



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