Sudan peace deal with rebel groups will cost $7.5 bln, says minister

South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar attends the signing of a peace agreement between Sudan’s power-sharing government and five key rebel groups, in Juba, South Sudan, on August 31, 2020. (Reuters)

Sudan’s landmark peace deal with rebels that seeks to end decades of war will cost $7.5 billion, the finance minister has said -- a vast sum for the poverty-stricken nation.

Under the October 3 deal between Khartoum and a coalition of rebel groups, the government pledged to fund major development projects in areas ruined by years of war, including in the western Darfur region.

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“The implementation of the peace plan requires at least $7.5 billion over 10 years,” Heba Mohamed Ali Ahmed said, according to Sudanese media reports on Friday.

Ahmed made the announcement a day earlier during a discussion with governors and local officials.

Sudan’s economy is in crisis, laid low by long years of civil war under Bashir’s rule, US sanctions and the 2011 secession of the oil-rich south.
Last month, the government declared a state of emergency to avert a further downturn.

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The peace deal covers a number of tricky issues, from land ownership, reparations and compensation to wealth and power sharing and the return of refugees and internally displaced people.

Under the agreement, the government is set to pay $300 million immediately for reconstruction in Darfur, Ahmed said, followed by payments over the next decade totaling $1.3 billion.

“The finance ministry must create an environment favorable to investment in order to encourage the domestic and international private sector to invest in less-developed regions,” she added.

Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from minority groups that fought marginalization under the regime of toppled president Omar al-Bashir.

Economic hardship, which triggered the protests that led to the ouster of Bashir in 2019, remains a huge challenge.

“The success of a peace plan depends entirely on how to solve the basic problems that have caused war and conflict,” Ahmed said.

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Last Update: Friday, 09 October 2020 KSA 18:47 - GMT 15:47
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