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EU pledges further €100 million to support democratic transition in Sudan

February 29 - 2020 KHARTOUM / BRUSSELS
Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU, speaks in Khartoum today (Picture: Ashraf Shazly/EU)
Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU, speaks in Khartoum today (Picture: Ashraf Shazly/EU)

The European Union has announced a grant of €100 million to support the civilian-led authorities in Sudan to meet the most pressing needs of the democratic transition.

In a press statement via the European Commission headquarters in Brussels today, EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles, who is currently on his first official visit to Sudan, says: “The European Union is fully committed to accompanying the ongoing political transition in Sudan through all the means at its disposal. Besides political support, financial assistance to Sudan remains crucial, given the severity of the economic crisis in the country. We hope that these additional €100 million will boost the efforts of the transitional government to implement reforms.”

The EU High Representative held meetings today with Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok after which they made a joint press statement.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles and Sudan's
Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok joint press conference in Khartoum today (Video: EU)

 

He also met with the Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, after which he made a statement reiterating the support of the EU for the transitional process, and peace and stability in Sudan.

He added: “We believe that a democratic Sudan is a guarantee of stability in the region.”

He affirmed the EU support to the political process in Sudan with humanitarian support to be announced during his visit to Darfur tomorrow.

He noted that Sudan has a historical opportunity for realising a sustainable peace, calling on all the Sudanese parties to proceed in the peace negotiations in Juba to realise peace.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles and the Chairman of Sudan's
Sovereign Council, Lt. Gen. Abdelfattah El Burhan in Khartoum today (Video: EU)

‘We hope that these additional €100 million will boost the efforts of the transitional government to implement reforms’ – EU High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles

In today’s statement from Brussels, Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, says: “Sudan now has an historic opportunity to transform into a democratic society. The EU is fully committed to supporting the Sudanese people to succeed. This new package of financial assistance will help the Sudanese government to implement critical economic reforms required to create jobs and expand the provision of public services across the country, and to provide opportunity for the youth and women at the forefront of change in Sudan.”

The statement explains that EU assistance in Sudan will focus primarily on support to economic reforms, economic opportunities for youth and women, and the peace process and democratic governance.

Sudanese authorities, EU and international partners together identified these sectors as being vital for the welfare of the population and the future of the country. The Sudanese economy has contracted for a second year in a row, and the transitional government recognises a clear need for macro-economic and structural reforms to stabilise it. These reforms should carefully manage a move away from generalised subsidies to a comprehensive social protection system, the EU statement says.

‘There will be a focus on education and training, and on women’s economic empowerment’ – EU

“The EU will support the efforts to buffer the transition for the most vulnerable citizens. The EU will also support the transitional government in enhancing accountability and improving the management of public finances. The EU will work with the Sudanese authorities and partners to create employment opportunities in Sudan, especially for youth and women. There will be a focus on education and training, and on women’s economic empowerment. Finally, the EU will also support the peace process and the protection and promotion of human rights in Sudan.”

The new grant comes on top of earlier pledges by the EU totalling €466 million.

As reported by Radio Dabanga in October 2019, a high-level EU delegation led by Deputy Secretary General of the EU External Action Service, Jean-Christophe Belliard, the EU Director General for International Cooperation and Development, Koen Doens, and the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos, met with Sudan’s Prime Minister Hamdok in Khartoum, discussed cooperation between Sudan and the EU in various fields, as well as ways to support the ongoing efforts of the transitional government for cessation of war and realising peace and stability in the country, and pledged a total of €466 million in support grants to assist with the transition in the country.

According to today’s EU statement, the new financial assistance of €100 million announced today will be delivered through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF for Africa).

Sudan exports to EU ratified

The Undersecretary for Sudan’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mohamed Ali Abdallah, announced yesterday that the EU Commission has authorised the registration of Sudan in the Commission and granted it a license to register exporters for export with zero tariffs and free quotas.

Undersecretary Mohamed Ali Abdallah,
Sudan’s Ministry of Industry and Trade
(SUNA)

 

In a statement via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), undersecretary Abdallah says that the Commission put Sudan in the framework of procedures for export arrangements and accession to the new electronic system of export registration known as REX. He described the system as mandatory, pointing out that “the form for contact points was filled in after five officials from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Customs were identified for approval after registering on the EU Commission website.”

He explained that those points of contact would supervise the verification of certificates of origin for Sudan’s exports to the European Union, adding that “the Ministry of Industry and Trade in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning worked hard and with care until the efforts were crowned with success in order to preserve Sudan’s right to benefit from customs reductions when exporting to the European Union”.

‘Initiative of Everything Except Arms’

Abdullah added that the registration of Sudan’s name in the European Commission will contribute to increasing Sudanese exports to the European Union, especially sugar products and its derivatives.

He pointed out that the EU was the first trading partner for Sudan before the now deposed Al Bashir regime seized power. Abdullah concluded that Sudan plans to take full advantage of the system of trade preferences offered by the European Union to developing and less-developed countries in what is known as the ‘Initiative of Everything Except Arms’ so that it can export Sudanese products to European markets with zero tariffs and free quotas other than arms exports.


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