Saudi, UAE pledge $3 bn financial aid for Sudan
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday announced three billion dollars (R42 171 000 000) in financial support for Sudan following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.
The oil-rich Gulf states pledged to inject $500 million (R7 028 500 000) into the Sudanese central bank and $2.5 billion (35 142 500 000) to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. It did not specify if the money is a gift or a loan.
The deposit for the central bank is aimed at shoring up the Sudanese pound, SPA said. In recent years Sudan has been hit by an acute lack of dollars, which became a key factor behind the nationwide protests that led to the toppling of Bashir by the army this month.
Since his ouster the pound has steadily strengthened on the black market, and on Sunday it jumped to 45 per dollar against 72 last week. The official exchange rate is 47.5 pounds to the dollar. Earlier media reports that Saudi Arabia was expected to send aid to Sudan were seen as a factor boosting the pound.
The Sudanese currency had plunged since the United States lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo on the country in October 2017. Expectations that the end of US sanctions would bring an economic recovery failed to materialise, putting pressure on the pound.
The country’s economic crisis has deepened since the secession of South Sudan in 2011 that took away the bulk of oil earnings.
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