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Sudan: Finance Minister Discusses U.S. Banks’ Entry Into Sudan

Khartoum — The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Jibril Ibrahim, discussed the economic requirements for the entry of US and western banks to operate in Sudan with the US envoy for Sudan, Donald Booth, in the presence of the US Charge d’Affaires to Khartoum, Brian Shukan.

In a meeting at the finance minister’s office on Wednesday, Ibrahim discussed the possibility of the US contributing to helping Sudan meet these requirements. This includes preparations for the Paris conference, scheduled for May, and the role that the US can play with the partners to help Sudan achieve the aspired results.

The meeting also discussed how the US will contribute to the Sudan Family Support Programme* (SFSP) and arrangements for the arrival of the wheat from the US to Sudan.

Ibrahim described the meeeting as “fruitful” and “beneficial”.

Booth said that his country is keen to support the peace and democratic transformation in Sudan during the transitional period. He praised the economic reforms recently implemented by the transitional government, indicating that there are US and western banks willing to work in Sudan.

He called for the creation of an investment climate in Sudan that is encouraging to the international banks and companies to operate in the various fields in the country.

Last week, US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, said Sudan deserved credit for implementing what she called a “robust economic reform program” after the country settled its debts with the World Bank. The arrears clearance was “an action that will move Sudan one step closer to securing much-needed debt relief and help the nation reintegrate into the international financial community,” she said in a statement.

Foreign currency exchange rates for the Sudanese Pound (SDG) against major international currencies have remained relatively stable since the Khartoum government effectively floated the Pound and unified the official and parallel exchange rates on February 22. The measures were taken to halt the ongoing inflation and economic crises in Sudan.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, economic analyst Hafiz Ismail attributed this to caution on the part of parallel market traders, and warned it should not be taken for granted and that real reforms are needed to heal the Sudanese economy.

* The Sudan Family Support Programme (SFSP) is supported by several development partners through the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which includes Canada, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, State and Peace Building Trust Fund, Sweden and United Kingdom. Together these donors are matching the support provided by the World Bank’s pre-arrears clearance grants to bring total support for the SFSP to $820 million.

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