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Economists call to expedite Sudan’s lift from terror blacklist

November 19, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Minister of Finance Ibrahim al-Badawi and U.S. prominent economist Jeffrey Sachs called to remove Sudan immediately from the terrorism blacklist to allow the improvised country to get immediate debt relief.

The US imposed comprehensive sanctions on Sudan in 1997 (US Embassy in Khartoum website)

Al-Badawi worked in the past at the World Bank while Sachs is a Professor at Columbia University, UN adviser on the Sustainable Development Goals programme and had participated in an international effort to restore economic growth after the collapse of the communist regime.

The joint call comes less than a month ahead of a meeting of Friends of Sudan group which will discuss ways to support its 2020 budget and how to bring Sudan out of over 30 years of international diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions.

Referring to their experience, the signatories said that “Sudan is on a knife-edge”. “It can evolve toward peace and democracy, or spiral into instability and violence”.

They said that a successful transition in Sudan requires the removal of U.S. regulatory barriers to commerce, finance, and the movement of people.

“In particular, the US should lift immediately its designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, a holdover from the Bashir era, so that the Sudanese government can address some of the country’s pressing needs,” they stressed.

US top diplomat for African, Tibor Nagy, last week said the issue of Sudan’s lifting from the terror list has been raised every time they speak to the press after the formation of the civilian government last September.

However, he was not able to give any indication about when they can proceed with it but they consider the Sudanese government as a partner.

“There are conditions to such an event, so everybody is hoping that it will happen. Everybody is hoping that it will happen as quickly as possible because we all understand the hardships that it is causing,” he said.

The two economists, also, pointed out to the need for immediate relief of the foreign debt.

“Sudan’s government must not only raise domestic revenue but also shift spending away from servicing Bashir-era foreign debt and toward public services and infrastructure. For that reason, Sudan needs immediate debt relief and the ability to access new funding from the World Bank and other international financial institutions,” they said.

During a meeting of Friends of Sudan in Washington last month, al-Badawi briefed the participants about his reform strategy for the years 2020-2030 which is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The transitional government plans to drastically reduce the military spending and direct its scarce revenues toward education, health and basic infrastructure.