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Sudan secures $425 mln bridge loan to clear African Development Bank arrears

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Sudan announced on Wednesday it had secured a multi-million-dollar bridge loan from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Ireland to clear its arrears to the African Development Bank.

The move comes as Sudan pushes to secure much-needed debt relief, access international financing and attract investment to rebuild its battered economy.

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“The finance ministry signed... a deal for a bridge loan worth $425 million to clear the arrears to the African Development Bank,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the financing would be provided United Kingdom, Sweden and Ireland.

It also signed a separate deal “for a grant of $2.7 million from the African Development Bank to support economic and financial reforms”, the ministry said.

Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim hailed the deals, saying in a statement, “we no longer have arrears with the bank.”

Sudan has been undergoing a rocky transition since the April 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir, whose three-decade rule was marked by economic hardship, internal conflicts and international sanctions.

Last year, Washington removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism blacklist –- a major step to unlocking debt relief and international funding.
In January, Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with the US for a $1 billion bridge loan to clear Sudan’s arrears with the World Bank.

Sudanese authorities are still in talks with the Washington over further financial steps to help the post-Bashir transitional period, according to US officials.

“We have not completed the forgiveness of all the bilateral debt between the US and Sudan. It’s about three billion in this year’s spending bill,” US Senator Chris Coons told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to Khartoum.

“We will begin that process but it will take some time.”

Sudan has in recent months undertaken painful reforms to attract investors, including a managed currency float.

The measures are central to a reform program agreed last year with the International Monetary Fund.

Later this month, France is set to host a conference aimed at attracting investment to Sudan.

Read more: US goes ahead with $1.15 bln financing deal, hailing Sudan reforms