Debt relief an option for Sudan after removal from US terror list

20 Oct 20

Sudan can seek relief on its $60bn of external debt after its removal from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism, the country’s prime minister has said.


Abandoned tanks in Darfur, Sudan

Abandoned tanks in Darfur, Sudan

Abdalla Hamdok, who has led the transitional government put in place after long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was deposed a year ago, said the removal from the list was a “great and deserved achievement”.

“There is a long road ahead, and we need serious planning and to work together to make the most of this opportunity,” he said.

US president Donald Trump said Sudan agreed to pay $335m to victims of the 1998 attacks on embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and their families.

The attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda while Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan, but Hamdok said the country had “never been a sponsor or advocate of terrorism”.

The removal of Sudan from the list, which Trump has promised once the compensation has been paid, will allow the north African country to seek international loans and aid to help its fragile economy.

Last month, the IMF warned that the Covid-19 pandemic had “compounded challenges” Sudan was already facing.

Inflation reached 167% in August, its debt burden reached more than 190% of GDP in 2019, growth was negative before the pandemic (at -2.5% last year) and is predicted to be worse in 2020.

Sudan recently agreed to a year-long programme of reforms with the IMF, including eliminating fuel subsidies to make space for social spending, broadening the tax base and improving governance in the hope of reducing corruption and improving the business environment.

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