Sudan’s Economic Revival Gets a Boost as Debt Relief Beckons

Sudan got assurances billions of dollars of external debt will be canceled after the clearing of its arrears with the International Monetary Fund, a boost for the impoverished African country emerging from decades of dictatorship, Bloomberg News reported. France, Germany and Norway were among countries signaling their readiness to forgo repayment at a Monday conference in Paris that showcased Sudan’s return to the international community. Removing IMF arrears, facilitated by a $1.5 billion bridge loan from France, clears the way for Sudan to get relief from global creditors under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative, or HIPC. With conditions for debt relief fulfilled, “France calls on all Sudan’s bilateral creditors, regardless of whether they are members of the Paris Club, to take part from June in a coordinated and equitable manner in the process to help lighten Sudan’s debt burden,” President Emmanuel Macron said. The Paris Club is an informal group of 22 government creditors including the U.S., Brazil and Spain. Sudan, where long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019 amid a popular uprising, is enacting sweeping reforms to turn around an economy wrecked by decades of corruption, mismanagement and sanctions. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok estimates total debt at $60 billion. The country’s real gross domestic product contracted 3.6% in 2020, according to the IMF, while inflation is running at over 300%, piling pressure on a transitional government that’s an uneasy coalition of civilian and military figures. Read more.