Bakeries bountiful in birthplace of Sudan’s bread uprising

In December 2018, authorities raised the official price of a 70-gram loaf from one Sudanese pound to three, prompting a rush on bakeries and long queues for bread. (AFP)
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Updated 18 December 2019

Bakeries bountiful in birthplace of Sudan’s bread uprising

  • Bashir’s government had long subsidised fuel, bread and several other staples
  • But this was a heavy burden on public finances in a country hit by US sanctions and the loss of oil revenues since South Sudan gained its independence

ARBARA: A year since bread prices tripled overnight, sparking protests in the Sudanese town of Atbara, residents say bakeries are producing more loaves than the town can eat.
In was in the dusty streets of the central town on the banks of the River Nile that Sudanese demonstrators held their first rallies against the government’s decision.
The authorities quickly reversed the move, but it was too late.
The protests swept across the African nation and by April, they had toppled veteran autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, in power for three decades.
Four months later, after protracted talks with the country’s military rulers, protesters and activists won a deal to set up a transitional government and pave the way for civilian rule.
This week in Atbara, residents will celebrate the gains of their revolution.
“There are no problems concerning bread anymore,” said 45-year-old Magdy Mohammed Ahmed.
He blamed the crisis on “mismanagement during the previous regime.”
“Now every family can get the amount of bread they want and bakeries in town produce more than the citizens of the town need,” he said.
To mark the anniversary, the Alliance for Freedom and Change protest umbrella group will send a train from Khartoum, recalling those that carried thousands of protesters to the capital at key moments during the uprising.
Bashir’s government had long subsidised fuel, bread and several other staples.
But this was a heavy burden on public finances in a country hit by US sanctions and the loss of oil revenues since South Sudan gained its independence.
In December 2018, authorities raised the official price of a 70-gram loaf from one Sudanese pound to three, prompting a rush on bakeries and long queues for bread — sparking the rallies that marked the beginning of the end for Bashir.
Today in Atbara, bread is no longer a hot topic and there are no more queues outside the bakeries.
“Before the revolution we suffered a lot. Our revolution solved the (bread) problem for our town,” Noujd el-Shelali, a 35-year-old agricultural engineer.
“We are proud of this government. This is our government.”
Bread is so plentiful that to ensure that everyone gets their fill, residents have set up a citizens’ committee to distribute it.
“Now we monitor everything, the distribution of flour, the bakeries, the manufacturing of bread inside the bakeries and the selling of bread to the citizens,” said committee member Imad Abdel Hafez.
He said a member of the committee is present round the clock at bakeries to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Thanks to this system, said Heba Alaa Allah, “we said goodbye to the bread crisis in Atbara.”
But the young woman, wearing a traditional veil, said prices of other food items such as meat, fruit and vegetable are still too high.
Protest leader Said Ahmed Mokhtar said he hoped this would be resolved soon.
“The people are still suffering,” said the 60-year-old.
“But still there is a possibility to solve all these problems because we have the revolution.”


Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

Updated 05 August 2020

Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

  • “The Great Economic Reset Programme” is part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy
  • The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies

DUBAI: Dubai launched an economic program as part of its efforts to reshape the emirate’s economy for a “sustainable” and “resilient” future post the coronavirus pandemic, the government said. 
The Dubai government partnered with the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) to launch “The Great Economic Reset Programme” as part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday. 
The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies, research and extensive stakeholder consultation to set the direction and tone of future economic policies, regulations and initiatives.
The government plans to use local and international experts for economies and societies to create growth strategies for the Dubai economy.
The MBRSG held a “Virtual Policy Council,” with global experts and thought leaders to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and potential policy responses and initiatives. 
Chief economists, senior practitioners and researchers from leading global institutions including the World Bank, joined experts from Dubai Economy and the MBRSG at the first roundtable.
“I believe the triple helix collaboration between public, private and academia stakeholders have always produced the best solutions in the past. In the highly uncertain environment now, extensive collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders are vital to our future prosperity. The Virtual Policy Council will propose the best approaches Dubai and the UAE can adopt to address the risks and opportunities in the next normal economy,” said Mohammed Shael Al-Saadi, CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs sector in Dubai Economy.
“This Virtual Policy Council is a key component of the whole process where global experts and thinkers share their views on the future economy. In this new era, the role of governments in enabling the new economic actors is becoming increasingly central, and Dubai is well-positioned to lead the way with innovative models of growth post COVID19,” said Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean of MBRSG.
The roundtable also discussed the impact of the pandemic on international trade, foreign investment and tourism, as well as the rise of digital globalization.