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After being removed from the terrorism list, is Sudan ready to save its ailing economy?

Despite the efforts exerted in Khartoum over many years to remove the name of Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, the transitional government found itself facing enormous challenges that prevented benefiting from this step and saving the country from the increasing economic deterioration day after day.

And it does not seem that the transitional government in Sudan has any plans to deal with the situation after the openness phase that awaits the country, despite its early initiation of discussions with the countries of the world and America to leave the blacklist.

A senior government official who spoke to Al-Jazeera Net attributed the lack of plans to deal with the following situations to leave the list of terrorism and open up to the world to the recent era of the transitional government, which he said had inherited extremely complex situations in all respects, especially the economic ones.

Nevertheless, the same official affirms that all government ministries have begun planning to take advantage of the great openness that Sudan will accept after ending its presence on the terrorism list, and then its success in restoring the sovereign immunity that protects it from any future claims of involvement in terrorist allegations.

An official in the oil sector – which is one of the areas that the government relies on – said that the Minister of Energy and Mining is currently working on forming an advisory board for competencies in the oil sector from inside and outside Sudan, in an attempt to stimulate investment and create appropriate conditions for foreign investment to enter the field.

According to the official who spoke to Al-Jazeera Net, the purpose of establishing this council is to provide advice regarding the management and restructuring of the sector, in addition to developing strategies for marketing the oil blocks, setting plans to develop fields and increase production, in addition to introducing and using modern technological means, and developing plans to develop supplies And fuel distribution.

The Minister of Energy is currently working on forming an advisory board for competencies in the oil sector from inside and outside Sudan in an attempt to stimulate investment (Reuters)

Waiting for support

For her part, the in charge of Finance Minister Heba Muhammad Ali discussed with an American delegation the development of economic cooperation between Sudan and the United States in light of removing the name of Sudan from the list of terrorism, and opening the doors for American investments in Sudan through the American Export and Import Bank in the fields of agriculture, infrastructure and financing of small and medium companies Through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

During the meeting, the focus was on discussing reforms undertaken by the transitional government to create an appropriate environment for investment, and the meeting also touched upon all means of economic cooperation between the two countries and the role of the United States in supporting the democratic transition in Sudan, in addition to arrangements for the visit of US Secretary of Treasury Stephen Mnuchin to Sudan at the end of the week January 1, which will be the first of its kind in 3 decades.

It is clearly evident that the transitional government is waiting for international support more than it is prepared with internal plans to save the economy, especially after the congressional passage of the “Financial Appropriations for American Federal Institutions” law, which included restoring the sovereign immunity of Sudan, and approving $ 931 million in direct bilateral economic aid to support its economy, including $ 700 million as a contribution to financing the government’s program to provide direct support to families and health care programs, in addition to other projects.

The aid also includes $ 120 million from the International Monetary Fund to support Sudan and restructure its debts, in addition to another $ 111 million to meet the costs of restructuring Sudanese debt, and $ 150 million in compensation for Africans who were affected by the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and are now US citizens, and they were demanding additional compensation. from Sudan.

Thus, the total direct and indirect aid approved with this legislation in favor of Sudan amounts to $ 1.1 billion, which is separate from the $ 1 billion that the United States committed to pay to the World Bank to pay Sudan’s arrears owed to the Bank.

Reform controversy

In turn, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Madani Abbas, believes that opening Sudan’s doors to the world addresses a major political and economic challenge, because a significant part of the complexity of the economic crisis was linked to the innocuous isolation that struck Sudan and made it sneak up international trade potentials to provide for the country’s needs.

The minister explains in a post on his Facebook page that one of the problems facing the economy is that the banking system has entered into a long isolation and strengthened the thorn of currency traders, which led to the flight of international companies, and that isolation contributed to the creation of a distorted economy and hindered the country’s easy access to scientific programs, innovations and technology development Which during the years of isolation witnessed unprecedented rates of growth.

Reforming the business sector requires the minister to proceed with addressing the situation of governmental and semi-governmental companies, including companies of military and security institutions, and this also represents one of the most important requirements for the Sudanese economy to join regional and global blocs.

On December 10, the US House of Representatives approved, by a two-thirds majority, legislation supporting the democratic transition in Sudan, which would end the military’s control of military economic companies and force it to hand them over to the civilian government.

In previous statements, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok described this law as important, and it would help consolidate the democratic choice in the country, and said that they welcome all forms of assistance from others, but at the same time he referred to the importance of the Sudanese to accomplish their own experience.

Regarding military and security companies, Madani Abbas says that the government has adopted a method to address them within its vision for economic reform, which is to classify them into 3 types according to the status of each institution, by making some of them transformed into public joint stock companies, and the others being partnerships between the public and private sectors, and other companies that are sold For the private sector.

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces own about 250 companies operating in vital civilian fields, such as milling flour, mining for gold, manufacturing shoes, electrical and household tools, and exporting meat, gum arabic and sesame.

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces own about 250 companies working in vital civilian fields (Al-Jazeera)

Not ready

For his part, economist Sidqi Kablo V. He told Al-Jazeera Net that the government is not yet ready to take advantage of the decision to remove Sudan from the list of terrorism in various sectors.

He indicates that banking reform has not witnessed any steps, to the point that all government banks are not ready to receive global banking dealings.

The required openness with foreign banks – according to Cabello – requires complete systems with the rest of the world’s banks, especially since these banks see that Sudanese banks do not have sufficient guarantees to deal with them, and that their capital is only worth a few dollars only, with the continued depreciation of the local currency. .

According to the expert, the recommendation of the economic conference previously held by the government was talking about merging these banks so that they have sufficient guarantees to deal with international banks, but they also did not implement this, in addition to the Sudanese banks operating in the Islamic system, where the economic conference recommended that there be Dual system, and this has not yet been implemented.

In the area of ​​foreign trade, Sidqi says that Sudanese companies are not ready yet to restore Sudan’s foreign markets without a third intermediary as was prevalent during the embargo period.

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