BY DAYO ADESULU
Three leading international financial institutions, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Thursday pledged multi-pronged support for Sudan as it opens a new chapter to overcome political and economic challenges.
At a high-level Sudan Partnership Conference held virtually and hosted in Berlin on 25 June, the three multilateral organizations and several governments affirmed their strong support for the country’s Transitional Government and its economic recovery efforts.
Over $1.8 billion dollars in pledges for Sudan poured in during the conference, which marked an important step in the African nation’s re-engagement with the international community.
Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim el-Badawi highlighted the comprehensive reforms that the Transitional Government of Sudan has launched to put in place a transparent, productive and resilient economy.
“We will pass an anti-corruption law, create an anti-corruption commission and reform the enabling environment for business and investment,” el-Badawi said during the panel discussions on the country’s economic reforms and the way forward.
He promised an era of transparently managed budgets that will focus on health, education and other sectoral reforms, including a transformed public service and a Family Support Programme. The Minister also called for partnerships at “every step of the way,” a position echoed by his colleague, Minister of Labour, Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub.
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The conference marked an important milestone in Sudan’s re-engagement with the international community. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina assured the Sudanese government of the Bank’s continued support in the country’s transformation journey.
“You can be very sure of strong support from all of us, starting from the African Development Bank in this herculean task,” said Adesina. He went on to praise Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and the country’s leadership “If you are looking for leaders who actually have good ideas about how to come out of tough times and make the economy more resilient, you couldn’t have asked for a better person than Hamdok.”
The Government has approached the Bank for support in the preparation of a long-term development strategy, which will consolidate ongoing reforms to ignite growth, lay the foundation for sustaining high and inclusive growth and spur transformation towards a knowledge-based economy. The Bank currently has a $511 million portfolio in this African country.
IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, reiterated the urgent need to extend support to Sudan. The IMF and Sudan on June 23 reached an agreement to put in a place a 12-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) aimed at narrowing large macroeconomic imbalances, reducing structural distortions hindering economic activity and job creation, strengthening governance and social safety nets. The SMP will also facilitate progress toward debt relief under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative.
World Bank President, David Malpass, reiterated ongoing and planned support for Sudan’s reform programme. “At the Government’s request, we have been working to design the Sudan Family Support Program It’s an ambitious cash transfer program to mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis. The program is costed at $1.9 billion and seeks to cover cash transfers of $5 monthly per person to 80 percent of the population, using digital and other delivery mechanisms. Following months of intensive technical work, it is now being piloted and readied for implementation.”
A communique issued at the end of the Sudan Partnership Conference congratulated the African Development Bank for its steadfast support for Sudan through its funding of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and for efforts to clear the country’s arrears to the Bank.