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Sudan govt, WFP sign MoU on family support programme

May 31 - 2020 KHARTOUM
A displaced man in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, with a sack of millet distributed by the World Food Programme (File photo: Albert González Farran / Unamid)
A displaced man in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, with a sack of millet distributed by the World Food Programme (File photo: Albert González Farran / Unamid)

The government of Sudan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the government’s Family Support programme that will provide Sudanese families direct cash transfers.

A joint press statement on Friday confirmed that the Sudanese Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr Ibrahim El Badawi and WFP Sudan’s Representative and Country Director Hameed Nuru signed the MoU in the presence of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

Under the Sudan Family Support Programme, the Sudanese government will provide direct cash transfers each month to support vulnerable families as part of its efforts to mitigate the effects of the ongoing economic difficulties. The multi-ministerial programme, led by the finance ministry, is expected to start in the second half of the year with financing from the government of Sudan and partners.

“The Family Support Programme is one of the transitional government’s greatest undertakings and will be a major dividend of the December Revolution. It will provide direct cash transfers to around 80 percent of Sudanese families to support them through the challenging economic circumstances currently facing Sudan,” Minister El Badawi stated.

The government of Sudan estimates that 65 per cent of the population live below the poverty line. The already dire food security situation is likely to worsen with the adverse socio-economic impacts of Covid-19, with the closure of nonessential businesses, coupled with rapidly rising food prices.

“The programme will be key to safeguarding people at risk of slipping into extreme poverty,” said Nuru. “Our steady partnership with donors like United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is what enables us to provide critical assistance. We are grateful to have such generous partners.”

According to the MoU, WFP will support the government to develop a cash transfer delivery and payments system, and a complaints and feedback mechanism – including a call centre – to support recipients of the programme.

“The platform developed for the Sudan Family Support Programme will allow efficient and accountable digital delivery of a broad range of social protection and other government services to the People of Sudan,” said Nuru.

Relief for Sudan’s poor

Two weeks ago, Minister El Badawi announced that the transitional government, together with the Friends of Sudan countries*, will start with the Financial Support for Poor Families Project in mid-December.

During an interview with Sudan TV on Thursday, El Badawi explained that the project is a strategic one that aims to cover 70 per cent of the Sudanese population. He said that the project is designed to grant SDG 500* monthly to each individual in the target group.

The minister pointed out that 65 per cent of Sudanese live below the poverty line. Red Sea state is the poorest state, followed by Blue Nile state, South Kordofan, the five states of Darfur, and West Kordofan.

* The Friends of Sudan group includes African Development Bank, Canada, Egypt, European Union, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, United Nations, and the World Bank.

* USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at time of publishing. As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily US Dollar middle rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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