Sudan cut off from $650 million of international funding after coup

Sudan cut off from $650 million of international funding after coup
Foreign funding was seen as crucial in helping Sudan emerge from decades of isolation and supporting a transition towards democracy. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 08 December 2021

Sudan cut off from $650 million of international funding after coup

Sudan cut off from $650 million of international funding after coup
  • Foreign funding was seen as crucial in helping Sudan emerge from decades of isolation
  • The US has put on hold $700 million in economic assistance since the coup

KHARTOUM: Sudan was unable to access $650 million in international funding in November when assistance was paused after a coup, the finance minister of the dissolved government said — a freeze that puts in doubt basic import payments and the fate of economic reforms.
The financing included $500 million in budget support from the World Bank and $150 million in special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund, said Jibril Ibrahim, who was appointed to a civilian transitional government in February.
Foreign funding was seen as crucial in helping Sudan emerge from decades of isolation and supporting a transition toward democracy that began with the 2019 overthrow of Omar Al-Bashir.
The Oct. 25 coup upended that transition. The United States has put on hold $700 million in economic assistance since the coup and the World Bank, which had promised $2 billion in grants, has paused disbursements.
After mass protests, the military on Nov. 21 announced a deal to reinstate Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He is tasked with forming a government of technocrats but faces political opposition to the deal.
“Sudan had tremendous international support. Now donors will be much more cautious,” said one former official from the dissolved government.
The onus will now be on the military and the government to show they are not returning to the very Bashir-era model that was being restructured and reformed, the former official said.
The US Treasury declined to comment. The IMF, which approved a $2.5 billion, 39-month loan program in June that is subject to periodic review, said it continued to “closely monitor developments.”
Before the coup the inflation rate, one of the highest in the world, had begun to fall, and the exchange rate had stabilized following a sharp devaluation in February.
Western diplomats and bankers say those reforms are now at risk and it is unclear how Sudan can fund imports without printing banknotes, a policy that fueled a long-running economic crisis but stopped during the transition.
Around the time of the coup, Sudan had enough reserves to cover just two months of strategic imports, a second former official said.
Ibrahim, a former rebel leader who secured his ministerial role through a peace deal and expects to retain it, said he hoped international support would return gradually over the next three to six months and that meanwhile bills could be paid and reforms would continue.
“Basically we depend on tax, customs and gold revenues and on different (state) companies working in various fields,” Ibrahim said in an interview at the Finance Ministry in Khartoum. For imported basic goods, such as flour, fuel and medicine, “we cannot cover it completely, but the majority of the strategic commodities we can cover with our exports,” he said.
The government had begun to reduce its trade deficit through tax and customs reforms, but those revenues were interrupted by a blockade by a tribal group at Port Sudan before the coup. A further blockade has been threatened.
Ibrahim said the main impact of the freeze in international support would be on development projects covering areas including water supply, electricity, agriculture, health and transport. An internationally funded basic income program to lessen the impact of subsidy reform has also been frozen.
Sudan’s 2022 budget was being planned with no allowance for international assistance, Ibrahim said, but with a target of sticking to a 1.5 percent deficit limit defined under an IMF financing program. Projected growth for 2022 could fall from 3 percent to 1.5-2 percent, he said.
Ibrahim said Sudan would seek investment rather than grants from wealthy Gulf Arab states that now face their own economic challenges.
“Up till now there have not been any big promises of support from any country, Arab or non-Arab, but contacts with all friendly states continue,” he said.


Al Qatif beach in Eastern Province sold at $1bn in KSA’s ‘largest real estate transaction’

Al Qatif beach in Eastern Province sold at $1bn in KSA’s ‘largest real estate transaction’
Updated 13 sec ago

Al Qatif beach in Eastern Province sold at $1bn in KSA’s ‘largest real estate transaction’

Al Qatif beach in Eastern Province sold at $1bn in KSA’s ‘largest real estate transaction’

RIYADH: A five-million-square-meter beach in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has been sold for over SR4 billion ($1 billion), in what was described as one of the largest real estate transactions in the Kingdom. 

Saudi Real Estate Contributions Commission, known as Tasfiah, has concluded the sale of the Al Qatif beach in a public auction in the governorate of Al Khobar, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The beach covers more than 5 million square meters on Tarout Island, one of the oldest settlements in the Arabian gulf. 

Tasfiah has so far reached a total of SR15 billion as a return to shareholders through its public auctions and sale of land contributions. 


Saudi shipping firm Bahri starts operations of $203m water desalination project

Saudi shipping firm Bahri starts operations of $203m water desalination project
Updated 11 min 14 sec ago

Saudi shipping firm Bahri starts operations of $203m water desalination project

Saudi shipping firm Bahri starts operations of $203m water desalination project
  • Bahri said the project is expected to be finalized by the fourth quarter of 2022

RIYADH: A Saudi-based provider of logistics and transportation services, Bahri, has started trial commissioning of the first barge under its SR760 million ($203 million) deal with Saline Water Conversion Corp., or SWCC.

The barge is located near the port of Al Shuqaiq on the Western coast of the Kingdom, Bahri said in a bourse statement on Sunday.

Signed in 2019, the deal involves establishing three floating stations, to supply and transfer desalinated water from the stations to desalination tanks.

Each station will have a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters per day with a total capacity of 150,000 cubic meters a day. 

Bahri said the project is expected to be finalized by the fourth quarter of 2022 and attributed the delay in commercial operations to COVID-19 constraints.

Established in 1978, Bahri is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the Public Investment Fund. It owns and manages a fleet of 89 tankers and container ships dedicated to transporting oil, petrochemicals, dry bulk, and other cargo.


Abu Dhabi takes a step towards emerging ETF industry in the Gulf region

Abu Dhabi takes a step towards emerging ETF industry in the Gulf region
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 23 January 2022

Abu Dhabi takes a step towards emerging ETF industry in the Gulf region

Abu Dhabi takes a step towards emerging ETF industry in the Gulf region
  • The fund tracks the S&P Saudi Arabia Shariah Liquid Top 30 35/20 Capped Index

RIYADH: A new investment product will allow traders in the UAE to track Saudi stocks via the local bourse — a first for the Gulf region’s fledgling ETF market.

Chimera Capital LLC, an Abu-Dhabi-based investment management firm and a subsidiary of Chimera Investment LLC, has launched its Chimera S&P Saudi Arabia Shariah Compliant Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).

The fund tracks the S&P Saudi Arabia Shariah Liquid Top 30 35/20 Capped Index, which is up 44 percent over the past year.

The gauge tracks the top 30 largest and most liquid Shariah-compliant stocks listed in Saudi Arabia.

“We are pleased to have launched our fifth ETF, which is the first to track non-UAE-listed equities. The fund will cater to the growing appetite for diversified investments among UAE and regional investors, providing them with an innovative tool to capitalize on the economic prospects of Saudi Arabia,” Sherif Salem, Chief Investment Officer – Public Markets at Chimera Capital said

The fund’s assets under management rose to 70 million dirhams ($19 million) by the end of the week, he said.

Gulf investors can choose between eight different equity-focused ETFs in the region, with three in Saudi Arabia, two in Qatar and three in the UAE.


IPO bidding gets into full swing amid listing wave

 IPO bidding gets into full swing amid listing wave
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 23 January 2022

IPO bidding gets into full swing amid listing wave

 IPO bidding gets into full swing amid listing wave

RIYADH: Amid a wave of initial public offerings in the Kingdom, many companies are to kick off the book-building process on Saudi Arabia’s main and parallel indexes this month.

Al Dawaa Medical Services Co. has announced its intention to debut 25.5 million shares, representing 30 percent of capital, on the main stock index, TASI.

The pharmaceutical retailer will allocate the full offer during the IPO bidding session, which will run from Feb. 13 to Feb. 17, 2022, according to a statement by the company.

Dammam-based Gas Arabian Services started the qualified investors’ book-building session today, Jan. 23, amid plans to list 790,000 shares on Saudi Arabia’s parallel market, Nomu.

The session will take place for four days until Jan. 27, 2022, the bookrunner of the offer, FALCOM Financial Services Co., said in a bourse statement.

The offering price range has been set between SR75 and SR90 per share.

Qualified investors will be entitled to the full offer of 790,000 shares and each shall subscribe to a minimum of 10 shares and a maximum of 789,990 shares.

Arabian International Healthcare Holding Co., better known as Tibbiyah, will begin the book-building process on Jan. 30. The period will last for five days, offering 5 million shares, or 25 percent of capital, on the parallel market Nomu.

Fully owned by Al Faisaliah Group, Tibbiyah is a leading healthcare provider in Saudi Arabia and the region.


Egyptian ready-made garments exports hit an all-time high at $2.49bn 

Egyptian ready-made garments exports hit an all-time high at $2.49bn 
Updated 23 January 2022

Egyptian ready-made garments exports hit an all-time high at $2.49bn 

Egyptian ready-made garments exports hit an all-time high at $2.49bn 
  • The Ready-made Garments Export Council has attracted 23 new factories in 2021

The value of Egyptian ready-made garment exports set an all-time high record during 2021.

They increased to $2.49 billion, up from $1.457 billion the previous year, amounting to a 41 percent increase.

The Ready-made Garments Export Council has attracted 23 new factories in 2021, with 11 facilities from small and medium factories re-attracted, the head of the council, Marie Lewis, revealed. 

Lewis added that services provided by the council are being expanded, to include promotional and marketing services. It has prepared a number of initiatives to develop e-marketing tools for its exporters.

The council has also participated in four international and local exhibitions, and has provided 33 export opportunities. It also arranged 22 bilateral meetings between its exporters and buyers.

It organised 32 workshops and training programs to enhance the export capabilities and production efficiency of the council's exporters, she added.