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Sudan, one of the largest countries in the heart of Africa, has been struggling to stay afloat economically since the US imposed crippling trade and investment sanctions in 1997. The country also lost is main revenue source, oil, following the secession of South Sudan in 2011. This had a major stultifying impact on its banking and finance industry and it faced a series of economic crises with a consequent devaluation of the Sudanese pound. Although the country has probably one of the most exciting potentials in terms of agriculture, the ripple effects of the sanctions has stunted the growth of this and other sectors.

 

Khartoum, Capital of Sudan. Source: How We Made it in Africa

The United States has been imposing sanctions on Sudan since 1997 and listed it as one of the countries sponsoring terrorism. Sudan’s president has 3 warrants of arrest against him issued by the International Criminal Court. The country itself has been a hotbed of violence and turmoil, especially in the western part of the country in the Darfur province. In 2011, the southern part of the country seceded and formed South Sudan, taking with it most of Sudan’s oil reserves. In 2017 the USA lifted the sanctions. This report investigates various elements in the financial services sector in Sudan, pre and post the sanctions.

Sudan capital Khartoum (Source: How We Made it in Africa)

Sudan has featured prominently in the news the past few months. Among the reasons for this phenomenon, was the USA lifting sanctions against the country, although it still kept Sudan on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE have all reached out to Sudan in one form or another. The latest news involved Sudan experiencing a serious cash-flow problem, to the extent that it is trimming its foreign diplomatic services quite seriously.

Sudan, vilified by the West for a long time, is now rapidly becoming an important player in the complicated geopolitical games around the Red Sea. Johan Burger reports on why Sudan is attracting wooers from both East and West.

Those travelling to Sudan need to ensure they’ve downloaded all the apps they’ll require during their visit before leaving, as some popular apps are inaccessible in the northeastern African country.

 

 

 

NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies

 

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