United States to lend $ 1 billion to World Bank to pay off Sudanese debt

The United States will provide a $ 1 billion bridging loan to the The World Bank to help clear Sudan’s arrears with the institution, opening the door to much-needed funding for this economically ravaged African country, Sudan’s finance ministry said.

The move is expected “in the coming days” and will allow Sudan to regain access to the World Bank’s International Development Association, the ministry said in statements to Bloomberg. The comments come after the United States on Monday revoked Sudan’s 27-year-old designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The change could in turn allow Sudan to get $ 1.5 billion in development assistance per year through a Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, according to the ministry. The US government will also provide wheat and other unspecified products for four years, he said.

The commitments are the first major economic windfall for Sudan after the long-awaited delisting from the United States. Washington named Sudan a sponsor of terrorism in 1993, citing its links to militant Islamist international organizations under then-dictator Omar al-Bashir. Four years later, he enacted sweeping sanctions that lasted until 2017.

The dictator’s legacy

The annulment is another step towards overthrowing the legacy of Bashir, who made the country an international outcast for much of his 30-year rule and was ousted by the military amid mass protests in April 2019.

The ministry also said that a delegation involving America’s top 10 agricultural companies will soon travel to Sudan to create investment opportunities, followed by officials from other sectors.

Sudan has $ 1.3 billion in arrears with the IMF and foreign debt stands at nearly $ 60 billion, money the government is trying to settle.

The delisting was expected after President Donald Trump said in October that Sudan had agreed to make a long-awaited payment of some $ 335 million to U.S. victims of terrorism and their families. Discussions also focused on Sudan’s burgeoning relations with Israel, a country Khartoum had never recognized before and with which it struck a peace deal a few days later.

Sudan has only agreed to end the state of war with Israel, but the development of relations will be subject to other agreements and will require legislative approval, Foreign Minister Omar Qamar al-Din said in an interview with pan-Arab Hadath television station that aired Tuesday.

The current Sudanese government, a ruling civil-military coalition until democratic elections, has not said how the country can afford the payment of compensation to American citizens. He is still seeking sovereign immunity to protect him from further legal action in the United States, Qamar al-Din said.

(Corrections to assign statements to the ministry.)

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