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$1.5 billion French loan to Sudan ‘a good move at the right time’

May 17 - 2021 PARIS
Paris (File photo)
Paris (File photo)

France today pledged to provide a bridging loan of $1.5 billion to assist Sudan to clear its arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This was announced in Paris this morning, at the start of a conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, to support the democratic transformation in Sudan. The conference aims to provide financial relief for Sudan’s $60 billion foreign debt.

News of the French loan has been welcomed. On social media, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sudan, Volker Perthes, described it as a good move at the right time. Perthes said that Sudan needs to show the international community that “the new Sudan is a business case - no longer a basket case”, and that the UN is ready to support the process.

The Sudanese delegation includes the heads of the Sovereignty Council and the Council of Ministers, as well as dozens of the executive body, businessmen, and activists. The conference will also be attended by Egyptian President Abdelfattah El Sisi and Tunisian President Kais Saied.

Foreign Minister Maryam El Sadig El Mahdi said in a press statement during the ministerial delegation’s departure from Khartoum Airport yesterday that the visit will extend for three days. She explained that at the Paris conference, Sudan hopes to achieve economic and investment partnerships with countries of the world in various fields, in addition to exempting Sudan’s debts and presenting the Sudanese revolution to the world with the voices of young men and women revolutionaries.

El Mahdi said she expected 70 per cent debt relief and that on Wednesday, the Franco-African Economic Summit will be held with the participation of a number of presidents, during which Prime Minister Hamdok will deliver a speech in this regard.

The Paris conference opened this morning. The first session is concerned with presenting the new Sudan through two axes: the opening, and a review of economic reforms in Sudan. According to the announced programme of the conference, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the French Finance Minister will address the session, along with officials from the International Monetary Fund, the Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission in Africa and the Sudanese Businessmen Union.

As for the second session, it will deal with the modernization of banking services and the commitment and readiness of Sudanese banks. An American and French official will address them, along with the Governor of the Bank of Sudan and a representative of the African Export-Import Bank.

The third session will include round tables on investment opportunities available in four main sectors, namely infrastructure, agriculture, energy, mining, and information and communication technology, with the participation of foreign and Sudanese institutions, and a review of available opportunities. The French President will hold a joint press conference with Burhan and Hamdok this evening.

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