Sudan Minister of Finance: France will support debt relief

The Sudanese Minister of Finance Ibrahim El Badawi says France will support debt relief for Sudan. He discussed this with his French counterpart and the director of the French Treasury.

The Sudanese Minister of Finance Ibrahim El Badawi (SUNA)

The Sudanese Minister of Finance Ibrahim El Badawi says France will support debt relief for Sudan. He discussed this with his French counterpart and the director of the French Treasury.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga from the French capital Paris El Badawi stressed the importance of the French role in debt relief as one of Sudan's largest creditors among the members of the Paris Club.

The Paris Club is a group of countries, mainly in Europe and North America, that tries to find co-ordinated and sustainable solutions to payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries. Its secretariat is in Paris.

El Badawi described the Paris Club as an important platform which could play an important role in debt relief from China, the Arab countries and Russia, along with the member states of the club itself. The members of the Paris Club are unlikely to grant Sudan debt relief if other creditors fail to do the same.

Accrual of interest

Sudan’s huge debt is mainly due to accrual of interest and steep penalities when the Sudanese government fell behind on its payments. For example, a single $ 130 million loan from Kuwait from the late 1970’s has now exploded to a $2.8 billion debt. Sudan owes $ 56 billion to other countries and financial institutions as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

El Badawi said Sudan can count on France to accelerate the debt relief process. He stressed that it will concern a full debt relief rather than a limited one. He commended Paris for its willingness to host a Donors Conference in coordination with the government of Sudan.

El Badawi described the French President Emmanuel Macron’s $ 60 million support for Sudan in such a short period of time as unprecedented.

Economic relations

At the meetings restoration of the economic relations between the two countries was discussed. In the past French companies used to engage in major projects in Sudan in sectors such as railways, electricity, archaeology, and agriculture.

Turning Sudan’s Red Sea coast into a regional port was discussed as well. It could serve as a gateway for landlocked countries such as Chad, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Finally, the ministers discussed deepening cultural and academic relations and cooperation between French and Sudanese universities and research institutions. At this moment there are 60 post-graduate Sudanese students in France.

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