Home | News    Friday 22 January 2021

UK backs Sudan’s economic reforms & debt relief

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January 21, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The United Kingdom extended £40 million in aid to Sudan to support cash assistance program that targets poor families and pledged a bridge loan to clear arrears at the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Sudanese Prime MInister Abdullah Hamdok, right, bumps elbows with British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab in the Cabinet Building, in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (AP)The Sudanese ministry of Finance and Economic Planning signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that outlines London’s support of Khartoum’s structural economic reforms.

The £40 million will finance the "Thamarah" program to support 1.6 million Sudanese families through the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund.

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday for a two-day visit to hold talks on a number of domestic and regional subjects.

His visit was described as ’historic’ as it is the first of its kind in more than a decade and the most senior by a British official since the ouster of former president Omer Hassan al-Bashir after a popular uprising in April 2019.

Raab told the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok that the UK is ready to support Sudan’s debt relief once the economic reforms are implemented.

The acting minister of Finance and Economic Planning Heba Mohamed Ali said in a press statement that the British pledge comes within the framework of the UK’s contributions that were previously made at the Sudan Partners Conference in Berlin last year.

She indicated that the transitional government began implementing the first phase of the Thamarah program to support Sudanese families, noting that it aims to alleviate the economic difficulties that the country is going through and is implemented through an effective partnership between the ministries of finance, economic planning, labour and social development, in addition to other relevant institutions.

The Sudanese official affirmed the government’s commitment to addressing the structural and chronic imbalances facing the economy for decades.

Her ministry also confirmed UK’s commitment to providing a bridge loan of $400 million to pay AfDB arrears.

Raab praised the progress made by the transitional government and emphasized the UK’s desire to continue to deepen relations with Sudan.

"The United Kingdom and Sudan have strong historical ties and a commercial partnership for which we want to see prosperity and growth," he said.

"We will continue our support for Sudan in its democratic transition and welcome the necessary economic reforms undertaken by the Sudanese government to put the country on a path to creating a better life for the people of Sudan," he added.

The UK Foreign Secretary, also, held talks with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fatah al-Burhan.

He also heard from women who played a leading role in the 2019 revolution and saw first-hand how British humanitarian support is helping people in need.

Britain has provided £125 million to Sudan this fiscal year, including £5 million pounds in the form of new funding to meet the urgent needs arising from the crisis in the region.

(ST)

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