A New Beginning For Sudan

Sudanese officials have been seeking investment opportunities for their country in the past month. The search began with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Hamdok was accompanied by ministers from his cabinet meant to represent the diverse aspects Sudan is hoping to partner with its neighbours for. Last week, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling council, visited Qatar to boost partnerships and investments.

“Sudan offers a myriad of investment opportunities that might attract Qatari investors,” al-Burhan said during his visit. “We are working to develop economic legislation to facilitate foreign investors.” The general and his team emphasized their desire to continue and improve Sudan’s relationship with Qatar. “This visit will play a key role in enhancing cooperation ties between the two countries,” al-Burhan said.

As part of his visit, al-Burhan invited Qatari entrepreneurs to invest in Sudan. The Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the proposal and encouraged Qataris to engage in Sudanese-related enterprises. At the moment, Qatar has $3.8 billion in funds in Sudan. These investments are in such diverse fields as agricultural projects, real estate, banking, metals, and infrastructure.

Prime Minister Hamdok’s visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month had a similar narrative, with Saudi Arabia promising to invest $3 billion in Sudan. The Red Sea area was a point of discussion for investments. There also was interest in energy, oil, and minerals during the Sudanese Energy Minster’s meeting with the Saudi Ambassador to Khartoum.

The partnering initiative comes as Sudan is looking to stand on its feet after a long-lasting political turmoil. Heavy debts and an economic collapse affected millions of lives and livelihoods. The Sudanese pound declined, and inflation rates were in triple-digit percentages. Last year, Sudan declared an economic state of emergency.

The country needs time to recover and prosper, but its government is taking the right steps towards a brighter future. Last month, Sudan paid off a 30-year debt to the World Bank. The country is now able to receive $2 billion in grants from the Bank’s International Development Association. Sudan is also newly eligible for $1.15 billion in loans from the United States Treasury Department.

A safe, prosperous, and developed Sudan will be beneficial not only for the Sudanese, but also their neighbours. Political turmoil has bombarded northeast Africa over the past several decades.  A government that is willing to create diplomatic ties, look for economic reforms, and build peace is a heartening change.