Saudi Arabia pledges $1.5 billion grant to Sudan

Saudi Arabia pledges $1.5 billion grant to Sudan
2 min read
12 March, 2021
The sum is part of an aid package Saudi Arabia and the UAE promised to Sudan in 2019
Sudan and Saudi Arabia agreed to strengthen cooperation [Getty]

Saudi Arabia has delivered a grant of $1.5 billion to Sudan, following up on an aid pledge that was made in 2019, according to two Sudanese officials.

The official Sudanese news agency SUNA quoted the officials as saying that “$750 million of the total sum has been deposited in the account of the Sudanese government, including $500 million into the Central Bank, and will be allocated to help solve the shortages of wheat, medicine, petroleum and other commodities.”

The officials did not mention where the rest of the sum would be designated.  

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh this week during a two-day visit to the kingdom, seeking to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Other Sudanese officials accompanied Hamdok, discussing issues such as cooperation in the agricultural sector with their Saudi counterparts.

This comes as Sudan endures a crippling economic crisis, largely due to inflation and hard currency shortages.

Sudan's statistics agency said annual inflation had risen to 330% in February, from 304% the previous month.

The Saudi finance ministry did not provide any immediate comment.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates initially pledged $3 billion to Sudan just after the April 2019 revolution which ousted Omar Bashir.

This sparked concerns that the two Gulf states were interfering in Sudan’s democratic transition, as they also courted Sudanese military figures who cracked down on protesters.

Hamdok also met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Khartoum earlier this week, where the two countries' dispute with Ethiopia over the controversial Great  Renaissance Dam (GERD) that Addis Ababa has built on the Blue Nile was at the top of the agenda.

The two leaders pledged to “work closely at this critical moment" until they mobilise international and regional players to help mediate a solution to the water dispute with Ethiopia, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

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