A compact digest of the past week's most-read highlights, from the heart of Sudan. Subscribe to receive this digest weekly in your inbox.
August 11 – 2021 KHARTOUM The launch of Mastercard payment services in Sudan by Faisal Islamic Bank (FIB) this week, has been heralded as an important milestone as Sudan re-joins the international financial community.
FIB will issue Mastercard-branded debit, credit, and prepaid payment cards in Sudan for use online, in-store, and at ATMs. FIB will also connect local businesses to the Mastercard network.
The establishment of Mastercard services in Sudan is a further sign of the country being welcomed back into the international financial fold.
This followed news about efforts by the transitional government of Sudan that led the country to reach the Decision Point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative as announced in June, after Sudan’s debt arrears to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (ADB) were cleared, and about the Paris Club creditors group’s cancellation of $14.1 billion in Sudanese debts.
August 13 – 2021 KHARTOUM (ICC) in the Hague will establish an office with a permanent team in Sudan to investigate the cases of the indicted officials who will be handed over to the court.
In a press conference in Khartoum at the end of his week-long visit to Sudan, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan QC said the court needs more evidence on the cases of deposed President Omar Al Bashir, former Minister of Defence Abdelrahim Hussein, and former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun.
We have made achievements during the visit, and there are signs of hope, but the journey is not completed yet, the Prosecutor stated.
For next week, the Sudanese government has scheduled an online meeting, during which the ICC Chief Prosecutor will officially approve the decision of Sudan to join the Rome Statute of the ICC. The prosecutor said he does not know the date of the extradition of the indicted former officials.
August 15 – 2021 DABANGA SUDAN The second quarter of 2021 has highlighted many challenges still facing Sudan’s transitional government, however in spite of ongoing incidents of insecurity and violence in Darfur and other areas, as well as a lack of agreement between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia on the filling and running of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the past three months have offered many optimistic milestones in Sudan’s transition.
The Council of Ministers affirmed that they would hand those accused of Darfur war crimes to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, further boosting Sudan’s image in terms of international cooperation.
Sudan’s third wave of COVID-19 infections continues, as authorities repeatedly encourage the public to take precautions and get vaccinated.
On the economic front, there was much tentatively optimistic news as Sudan re-entered into the global financial fold, heralded by swaths of international debt relief in acknowledgment of reforms achieved thus far.
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August 17 – 2021 KHARTOUM The average inflation rate rose to 422.78 per cent for the month of July, an increase of 10.03 per cent compared with June, Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday. The inflation rate for the food and beverage group recorded 272.59 per cent for July, while the inflation rate for imported consumer goods reached 240.81 per cent last month.
August 16 – 2021 JEBEL MARRA édecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) last week launched an urgent measles vaccination campaign to contain a rapidly growing number of cases in Jebel Marra in Darfur.
MSF aims to vaccinate 95 per cent of the children between nine months and 15 years old in the area, and to provide them with vitamin A supplements as part of its malnutrition prevention and treatment plan, the international organisation reported on Thursday.
August 16 – 2021 KHARTOUM Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok yesterday announced the formation of a mechanism “to create a broad consensus” for the implementation of his initiative to protect the country’s transition to democracy. In a press conference at the Council of Ministers on Sunday evening, Hamdok said that the mechanism was formed after wide consultations, in order “to reflect diversity and express the richness of the political arena”.
August 13 – 2021 ANKARA Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan is on a two-day official visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The leaders signed a joint communiqué after a meeting on bilateral relations yesterday.
August 13 – 2021 WAD MADANI / DONGOLA / JABIT / KASSALA / KHARTOUM The torrential rains have caused major disruption and damage in Sudan’s El Gezira, Northern State, and the Red Sea state. Many houses have collapsed in floods and infrastructure has been damaged. In other regions, water levels have reached dangerous heights as well.
August 12 – 2021 DONGOLA / PORT SUDAN / WAD MADANI Nine new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Sudan's Northern State whilst positive cases decreased in the Red Sea state. Vaccination rates have gone up in the state and the Red Sea state's minister of health confirmed that new doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine should arrive in the next few days.
August 11 – 2021 TABIT / EL FASHER A man was killed east of Tabit in North Darfur on Tuesday, as attacks on villages in the area continued for the second week. Government forces have reportedly been withdrawn. Dozens of people in the state capital El Fasher staged a protest against the violence.
August 11 – 2021 EL FASHER Minni Minawi, leader of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, was inaugurated as Governor of Darfur in a ceremony in El Fasher yesterday. Addressing the inauguration, the President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, proclaimed that “the first steps of peace and its real start were launched today”.