Sudan’s transition gets vote of approval as Western, Arab donors pledge $1.8 bln

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Western and Arab countries pledged $1.8 billion at a conference hosted by Germany to help Sudan ease an economic crisis hampering its transitiontowards democracy after the fall of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir.

The European Union pledged 312 million euros ($350.13 million), the United States $356.2 million, Germany 150 million
euros, France 100 million euros, and Britain £150 million for humanitarian and development programmes, chief among them
planned cash transfers to poor families with the help of theWorld Bank, officials said at the online event.

Saudi Arabia, which said it had given Sudan $500 million overthe past year, donated $10 million. The United Arab
Emirates donated $50 million.

The two Gulf countries had promised a grant to Sudan of $3billion in the form of cash and commodities after the military
ousted Bashir in April 2019.

China and Spain were among countries offering to assistSudan with relieving its debt, which stands at about $56 billion.


Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, running Sudan under a precarious, transitional power-sharing deal with the military since Bashir's overthrow in a popular uprising last year, is desperate for more foreign support.

Hamdok warned that without it, instability could spread through a volatile region in east and northeastern Africa and disaffected young people would keep migrating by sea to Europe.

Read more: Sudan takes step closer to IMF deal to fix decades of mismanagement

“We expect our partners to support us to have a successful transition,” he said. “I do not want to paint a rosy picture. Any transition is messy and there are so many challenges.”

Inflation topped an annual 100 percent last month and Sudan's currency has plunged to 141 to the dollar on the black market compared to 55 at the official rate.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “massive” aid, saying the region needed a stable and democratic Sudan.

He gave no figure but the pledges reported so far were well below the $8 billion in aid Hamdok that said in August 2019 was needed to turn around an economy in crisis since Sudan lostalmost all its oil revenue when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

The family cash scheme is seem as key to softening the blowfrom a removal of fuel and other subsidies demanded by would-be
Western donors and which cost an estimated $3 billion annually.

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi told the event the government was reforming fuel subsidies, without giving details.

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