Western and Arab countries pledged $1.5 billion at a conference hosted by Germany to help Sudan ease an economic crisis hampering its transitiontowards democracy after the fall of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir.
The European Union pledged 312 million euros ($350.13 million), the United States $356.2 million, Germany 150 million euros and France 100 million for various specific projects, among them planned cash transfers to poor families with the help of the World Bank, officials said at the online event.
The United Kingdom pledged 150 million pounds ($186.17 million) and the United Arab Emirates $300 million.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, running Sudan under a precarious, transitional power-sharing deal with the military since Bashir’s overthrow in a popular uprising last year, is desperate for more foreign support.
Hamdok warned that without it, instability could spread through a volatile region in east and northeastern Africa and disaffected young people would keep migrating by sea to Europe.
“We expect our partners to support us to have a successful transition,” he said. “I do not want to paint a rosy picture. Any transition is messy and there are so many challenges.”
Inflation topped an annual 100 percent last month and Sudan’s currency has plunged to 141 to the dollar on the black market compared to 55 at the official rate.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “massive” aid, saying the region needed a stable and democratic Sudan.
He gave no figure but the pledges reported so far were well below the $8 billion in aid Hamdok that said in August 2019 was needed to turn around an economy in crisis since Sudan lostalmost all its oil revenue when South Sudan seceded in 2011.
The family cash scheme is seem as key to softening the blowfrom a removal of fuel and other subsidies demanded by would-be
Western donors and which cost an estimated $3 billion annually.
Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi told the event the government was reforming fuel subsidies, without giving details.