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Sudan finance minister meets IMF head over external debt

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October 13, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese finance minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool met with the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde in Washington for talks regarding ways to alleviate the country’s hefty debt burden.

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Sudan’s finance minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool (Getty)

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) quoted the finance ministry media officer Ghazi Hussein as saying that the focus of the meeting was a paper prepared by Khartoum on a number of economic issues pertaining to Sudan as well as the African continent.

The paper also tackles relations between Africa and World Bank, capitalizing the African Aid Agency and Sudan external debt in light of the IMF strategy.

Abdel-Rasool took part in joint technical workshop formed by the IMF and World Bank in Washington with the participation of South Sudan and African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki devoted to discussing how to obtain debt relief for Sudan’s external debt.

Khartoum inherited the entire external debt that existed prior to the secession of the south in July 2011. The two countries have yet to agree on how to split up the debt.

The two sides decided to reach out to creditors to obtain debt relief and if that fails will sit down to see how it can be divided.

As it stands now, the IMF projects that Sudan’s external debt as percentage of GDP will increase this year to 87.6% from 82.2% in 2012

Around three quarters of Sudan’s external debt are owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations and other non-member states. The remaining balance is equally divided between commercial banks as well as international and regional financial bodies.

Last April, an IMF official said that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements.

“I’m not saying this is impossible but it is difficult because it is linked to political issues which requires a public relations effort with member countries” IMF deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department Edward Gemayel said during a visit to Khartoum.

He pointed out that any debt relief deal with Sudan would require the unanimous consent of all 55 countries in Paris Club which he suggested would be improbable.

(ST)

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