Sudan central bank chief dies of heart attack in Turkey

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Sudan’s central bank governor Hazem Abdelqader has died of a heart attack while on a visit to Turkey, the Sudanese presidency said on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear whether Abdelqader was on an official visit to Turkey but the presidency said in a statement that he died of a heart attack on Saturday. It did not offer other details.

Born in 1960, Abdeqader was appointed head of Sudan’s Central Bank in December 2016.

Since taking over as governor, Abdelqader participated in negotiations with the United States that helped lift decades-old trade embargo imposed by Washington on Khartoum.

Shortage of foreign currency

In recent months the central bank has faced an acute shortage of foreign currency that has seen the Sudanese pound plunge against the dollar on the black market.

The central bank has devalued the pound twice against the dollar since January.

Sudan’s overall economy has been hit hard, particularly after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of oil revenues.

Sudanese officials say that an economic revival that was expected after the lifting of US sanctions has not materialized as international banks continue to be wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.

Although Washington lifted the sanctions on October 12, it has kept Khartoum on its list of “state sponsors of terrorism”, which Sudanese officials say keeps international banks away from the African country.

Washington imposed sanctions on Khartoum in 1997 for its alleged support to Islamist militants. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.