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IMF maintains negative growth forecast for Sudan in 2019 & 2020

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October 15, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) affirmed its previous forecast of a contraction in the Sudanese economy this year and the next one.

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) report published today said Sudan registered a -2.2% contraction in economic growth in 2018 that is expected to sink further this year to -2.6% before relatively improving in 2020 to -1.4%.

Inflation was expected to fall to 50.4% this year compared to 63.3% in 2018 but is forecasted to jump again next year to 62.1%.

The figures were slightly worse than the projected numbers included in the WEO report last April.

The previous regime’s downfall can be attributed in large part to the deteriorating economic situation which led to food & fuel shortages and disappearance of cash liquidity in banks which triggered mass protests that eventually forced president Omer Hassan al-Bashir out of power after 30 years rule.

The transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok which was sworn in last month made economic revival a priority but recognized the daunting task of doing so in face of US terrorism designation & hefty debt burden as well as low levels of foreign reserves in possession of the central bank.

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi unveiled last month a nine-month economic rescue plan aimed at curbing inflation & providing basic goods while maintaining bread & fuel subsidies in the interim.

Last week al-Badawi said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) deposited $500 million with the central bank while $1 billion worth of petroleum products, wheat and agricultural products were received.

The Sudanese official said a remaining $1.5 billion in pledges will be disbursed by the two Arab Gulf countries late next year.

U.S. designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism prevents Washington from providing any economic aid or supporting debt relief or financing from the IMF or World Bank (WB).

Sudanese officials expressed optimism on de-listing but American officials stressed that they need to adhere to legal constraints in the process despite expressing sympathy with mounting international calls getting Sudan off the list.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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