WASHINGTON: The US has confirmed it had assisted Sudan with more than $1 billion to help clear arrears at the World Bank as it hailed reforms by the civilian-backed government.
President Joe Biden’s administration said it carried out a financing deal signed in January by the previous treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on a trip to Sudan, which has faced unrest over the past several years due to the dire economic situation.
The Treasury Department on Thursday provided Sudan with $1.15 billion in bridge financing, typically loans that cover short-term needs. No US taxpayer money was involved.
“Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government deserves credit for making challenging but necessary reforms to restore its social contract with the Sudanese people,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Mnuchin’s successor.
The financing “will move Sudan one step closer to securing much needed-debt relief and help the nation reintegrate into the international financial community,” she said in a statement.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, a British-educated economist, has been seeking ways to end conflicts and rebuild economic opportunities as Sudan turns the page on decades of pariah status under strongman Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled in April 2019.
In the final months of Donald Trump’s administration, the US removed Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, a long-sought goal of Khartoum as the designation severely impeded investment.
Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government deserves credit for making challenging but necessary reforms to restore its social contract with the Sudanese people.
Janet Yellen, US Treasury secretary
Trump agreed to the move after pushing Sudan to agree to normalize ties with US ally Israel, a decision that has triggered protests in Khartoum.
Sudan fulfilled one of the main conditions demanded by international donors in February, when it took steps to unify its official and black-market exchange rates.
“They have undertaken an enormous level of reform in a very short period of time,” said a source.
“We hope that they’re able to continue that progress in the coming weeks and months.”
Helping Sudan settle its arrears with the World Bank would help show the Sudanese people that painful reforms such as ending fuel subsidies were paying off, the source added