World Bank chief visits Sudan welcomes progress in transition process

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David Malpass, President of the World Bank arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday for a two-day visit. At a press conference yesterday, he recognized “the remarkable resilience of the Sudanese people”. The bank will support Sudan with $ 2 billion in grants for poverty reduction and sustainable economic recovery.

The visit “reaffirms the commitment of the World Bank Group to help Sudan achieve better development results for all of its people. This is the first high-level visit by a World Bank official since Sudan reached the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) decision point in June 2021, which is an important milestone that will enable the Sudan to wipe out almost all of its $ 50 billion in foreign investment. debt, ”the World Bank said on Wednesday.

“We look forward to working with Sudan as it reconnects with the international community,” President Malpass said. “Over the next year, we will commit approximately $ 2 billion in grants to support the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. We look forward to further intensifying our commitment to improve the living conditions of the Sudanese people. “

The grants are intended to support the rehabilitation of infrastructure in the country, education and health care, and other areas.

On Thursday afternoon, Malpass delivered a speech at Friendship Hall in Khartoum in which he congratulated the Sudanese transitional government for the progress it has made.

“Two years ago, the Sudanese transitional government inherited a deeply damaged economy and society that had suffered decades of conflict and isolation. [..] Yet the country continued its bold reforms, reconnecting with the international community, clearing World Bank arrears with the help of an American bridging loan and reaching the decision point of the initiative in favor of the countries in June. heavily indebted poor – or HIPC. I welcome the progress of Sudan in macroeconomic stabilization, including the clearance of arrears, the unification of its exchange rate, the reduction of inflation, the reduction of shortages and the elimination of fuel subsidies.

‘Truly inspiring’

“Although there is a lot of work to be done, I congratulate the Sudanese authorities, civil and military, for their efforts and achievements in working together towards a unified country, tolerant and able to offer a better future to all its citizens. . It is essential to avoid political slippages because there is no development without peace and stability. I would also like to recognize the remarkable resilience of the Sudanese people – your will to build a better Sudan despite the challenges is truly inspiring, ”he said.

Malpass affirmed the readiness of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France to help Sudan overcome its economic difficulties, to cancel its external debts, to support the democratic transition in the country.

He announced that the bank was planning to expand the Samarat 6 to 12 month family support program. He explained that this program in favor of the poorest families is concerned with remedying the situation in the short and medium term.

“I would also like to recognize the remarkable resilience of the Sudanese people – your will to build a better Sudan despite the challenges is truly inspiring” – World Bank President David Malpass

In a press conference Thursday evening, Malpass said he also spoke with the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Lieutenant General Abdelfattah El Burhan. He then visited the Samarat registration and a COVID-19 vaccination center, the Sudanese news agency reported.

The head of the World Bank called on Sudanese expatriates to invest their money in Sudan “to curb the side effects of the economic reform process and achieve economic growth through the creation of jobs for young people and the rehabilitation of infrastructure” .

World Bank Vice President Hafez Ghanem said that of the $ 2 billion grants that the bank will extend over the next six months to attract investment to Sudan, $ 300 million will be allocated for rehabilitation of the infrastructure. An additional $ 300 million will be used to improve the drinking water and electricity sectors, and to rehabilitate education and health care.

“Sudan will see the fruits of reforms”

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok thanked the “more than precious contribution” of the World Bank for projects in the fields of agriculture, water, transport, electricity, health, education and other programs.

Sudan will see the fruits of the reforms despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the floods and the numerous refugees in the country, he said, and referred to the stability of the Sudanese currency, the decrease in the trade balance deficit and increased non-oil exports, remittances and financial exchanges.

He highlighted the wealth of natural and human resources in Sudan, and stressed the need for huge investments, financial and technical resources and international partnerships. In particular, young people should be supported through programs improving their skills, job creation, provision of social services and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the country.

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