October 31, 2019 / 4:52 PM / a month ago

Sudan agrees reforms with World Bank, IMF: finance minister

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has agreed a roadmap to “rehabilitate” the country with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank, its finance minister said on Thursday.

Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi said the plan involved structural reforms but did not go into further details. He said as part of the deal Sudan would not have to pay its lenders debt arrears. There could also be non-financial support.

Sudan’s inclusion on a list of countries deemed sponsors of terrorism by the United States makes it ineligible for debt relief and financing from lenders like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, cutting off a crucial source of finance.

Elbadawi was speaking to reporters at Khartoum airport after he flew back from Washington, D.C., where he was attending the annual World Bank and IMF meetings.

He said negotiations with other creditors would begin in March.

“Based on that, Sudan’s debt relief program will start by the end of 2020,” he said, without giving further details.

Elbadawi said that “friends of Sudan” will fund its 2020 budget, and said the ministry has submitted financing requests for 20 projects to donors, without identifying who those donors were.

A “friends of Sudan” meeting will be held in Khartoum in early December, he said. Another meeting for donors will be held in April.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have given Sudan $3 billion in aid, agreed soon after former president Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April, throwing a lifeline to Sudan’s new military leaders at the time.

Sudan’s new transitional government, formed as part of a three-year deal agreed by military and civilian leaders in August, has been working to remove Sudan from the U.S. sponsors of terrorism list, to potentially open the door for foreign investment.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is expected to visit the United States soon, Elbadawi said, without saying when.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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