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INTERVIEW: Qatar large investments in Egypt and Algeria an "embarrassment" to Sudan

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January 9, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – This week’s economic agreements worth billions of dollars between the energy-rich Gulf state of Qatar and the North African nations of Egypt and Algeria represents an "embarrassment" to the government in Khartoum, an economic analyst told Sudan Tribune today.

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The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (L) and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika leave the Boumediene airport on January 7, 2012 in Algiers (Getty Images)

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in his visit to Algiers on Monday signed energy, mining and industry agreements reportedly worth $5 billion.

Also on Tuesday the Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani announced from Cairo that his country will loan Egypt an additional $2 billion and transfer another $500 million grant. This is an addition to $2.5 billion already deposited previously.

Last September Qatar said it plans to invest a total of $18 billion in Egypt over the next five years in tourism and industry projects along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

"This shows you the political weight countries like Egypt and Algeria enjoys in the eyes of Qatar," said Khalid al-Tigani Elnour of the Elaff weekly newspaper who writes extensively on Sudanese economic issues.

"The [economic cooperation] does not reflect what appears to be strong relations between Sudan and Doha," Elnour told Sudan Tribune by phone from Khartoum.

Qatar has been one of the few countries where Sudan enjoys relatively warm relations with. For years the rich Arab Gulf state has hosted peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups which eventually resulted in signing of a peace accord in 2011.

It is also the main destination in foreign visits by Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

Sudan has been desperately seeking financial bailout from rich Arab Gulf states to plug the budget hole that resulted from the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan in July 2011. The newly independent state held three-quarters of the once-united country’s oil reserves.

The economic impact of Sudan’s partition translated into a sharp drop in national income, foreign currency influx and deteriorating value of the local pound which caused double digit inflation rates.

Inflation has accelerated to 46 percent in November, and the Sudanese pound has plunged on the black market where it now fetches around 7.00 pounds for one dollar, against more than four pounds late last year.

Last year Qatar announced that it will inject $2 billion of investments in Sudan including "the purchase of government bonds issued by the Sudanese government and investments in different sectors particularly mining, oil, agriculture and services".

But Elnour said that out of the $2 billion promised by Doha only $500 million were actually disbursed.

"The Qataris asked for collateral [before they could release more money]. Khartoum offered several factories and projects," he said adding that the two sides apparently could not reach an agreement.

The analyst also disclosed that Qatar in the past rejected financial bailout requests from Sudan.

As such Qatar’s investments in Egypt and Algeria should be seen as a testimony to how Doha views Sudan as an unstable state thus avoiding pumping money into its beleaguered economy.

Elnour also pointed out that the work on the Mushaireb residential project in Khartoum by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company has come to a halt as the economic difficulties of Sudan compounded.

He stressed that this deterioration in the investment environment part of a wider problem of Sudan manifested in wrong political and economic policies, excessive bureaucracy and centralization of decision making.

By contrast Sudan’s eastern neighbor Ethiopia managed to attract $13 billion in investments from Saudi Arabia mainly in the agricultural sector, he said.

Elnour quoted previous remarks by the Sudanese president in which he said that Saudi businessmen who came to Sudan to explore opportunities for investments in food security projects were discouraged by the business environment they found.

The Saudi Arabian government itself has turned down pleas for economic assistance from Sudan even after official visits including one from Bashir last year.

Elnour said that Arab Gulf governments are discouraged from helping Sudan because of the political instability in the country as well as "wrong" policies undertaken by Khartoum.

He underscored that there are also other political considerations when these states evaluate the situation in Sudan.

"Some of these [Gulf] nations [privately] advised the Sudanese government to carry out reforms. Also a country like Saudi Arabia might not be happy about Sudan’s close ties with Iran and even Qatar," Elnour added.

Elnour also pointed out to pressures by the United States on these Arab Gulf states and referenced testimony by the former U.S. envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman before Congress last year.

Lyman said at the time that Khartoum’s allies namely China and the Arab countries should be convinced to press Khartoum on the humanitarian issue in return for financial assistance.

The U.S. official also claimed that some unnamed countries have recently “stopped giving Sudan considerable assistance”.

Gulf states were historically among the biggest investors in the country and have recently funded a improvement to Ruseiris dam, a large sugar plant and Sudan’s only shopping mall.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 10 January 2013 11:59, by Jalaby

    To Sudantribune,
    Are you a jealous or what?! LOL .. HAHAHAHHAH
    We’re so so happy with our Qatari people and more than satisfied with their generous contribution to our country, did you hear the news of yesterday? Hasad Qatari company agreed to finance a big project that carries the electricity from Maroe dam to Darfour and also agreed to

    repondre message

    • 10 January 2013 12:06, by Jalaby

      finance the electricity projects in South Kordofan!these are two years project!
      Every day they support and finance new project and their billion dollars contribution is mounting up so quickly!
      If they just contributed to Maroe and Roseirs dams that would be more than enough because these projects are considered to be our hardcore infrastructure and much important than

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      • 10 January 2013 12:50, by Jalaby

        oil project itself because the oil is considered to be non-renewable energy while these dams will create clean and constant projects that will last for ever!
        Just tell me, who helped SAF to have MIG29 fighters and financed the development of SAF in general?! They’re Qatari if you don’t know, they are not required to inform you!!

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        • 10 January 2013 12:57, by Jalaby

          Tell me, how much money Israel and the west helped the south since their separation?!
          Salva Kiir made his first visit in the middle east after south separation to Israel, the first country ever to visit,
          just tell me dude, what did he get from them after he kissed their ass except than their bad ass smell when he bowed down kissing their ass!!!!!

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          • 10 January 2013 13:03, by Junta

            Jallaby
            Does your Islam allow you to lie and be racist, or claim a race that does not belong to you? You must be a hypocrite! You are a disgrace to Islam as a religion!

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            • 10 January 2013 17:07, by Northern Sudanese

              Junta
              now that you have finally been able to stop sucking yo mama’s slave trader’s dick, tell us what lie Jalaby just said. claiming other race? you probably need medical help!

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              • 11 January 2013 08:22, by Junta

                Ya Northern Vagabond
                Facts are bitter! By your admission, it is now clear that you a descendan

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          • 10 January 2013 13:09, by Rezingving monynok

            to crab Jalaby
            you are really pornography addicted that is why your writing are full with nonsense ,
            to my brother Junta , you are right by saying that .Qatar is not fool to deal with fake Arabs who don`t respect their people and themselves ,look what is happening here in JEBEL Amer 25 villages were burnt , Pro-government militiamen, allegedly sent by the North Darfur security from El-Fash

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    • 10 January 2013 12:25, by Junta

      Jallaby
      Why force yourself to be an Arab? Qatar is not dealing with fake Arab like you! They would rather deal with genuine people who do not pretend to be what they are not e.g Egyptian, Algerian and Black African Darfuri BUT NOT fake Arab!

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  • 10 January 2013 12:35, by panchol

    Jalaby.
    your country is not stable, more so you will not get any coin from money injected by Qater lol! because NCP will buy more weapons than developing those in need.
    hahahahahahahahahah ! an Arab called Jalaby laughing facing South Sudan,SK,SBN and Darfur.

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  • 10 January 2013 13:29, by Pif Paf

    Here we go again. ST not only shows your Sudan’s bad news but recently it has been trying to turn the good news to bad news. When Sudan inaugurated Rossiers dam it said Bashir drank water during his speech so he’s very sick & failed to talk about advantages of the dam. Now ST is comparing Qatar investment in Sudan with other countries to make it look bad lol. ST propaganda is just unbelievable !!

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    • 10 January 2013 13:54, by Junta

      Ya Chemical Pi Paf
      Why don’t you condemn the blatant racism practiced by your kinsmen Arab wannabe in Sudan? Why do you perpetuate the extermination of the black people in Darfur, SBN and SK and falsely grabbing lands of South Sudanese like Abyei, Kafie Kingi, Higlig, Hofrat Nahas and Manganis? You are pathetic and Hypocrictical!!

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      • 10 January 2013 14:41, by Pif Paf

        irrelevant junta,
        I was commenting on a specific topic. However what your talking about is what Spla sold u. There is no such thing as extermination of black people. Its the government vsn rebels. It happened and is happening in many countries in Africa. Black people are very where in Sudan. Extermination of black people will mean the extermination of Sudan dumbass !!

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        • 10 January 2013 14:50, by Junta

          Ya Chemical Pif Paf
          If you are not genocidal and racist, why is that there are mass displacement of black people in darfur and influx of Arabs into Darfur? secondly, why did ur Criminal govet’s systematically displace massively Dinkas from Abyei? Why were Dinka Panaru massacred and more were removed from Panthou (Higlig) in 1990s and later you claimed it to be SK land? Justify ur actions from Kora

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    • 10 January 2013 16:31, by zulu

      Mistress, Sweet pussy and Pitiful Pat,
      The energy and words you ladies put into a debate is unfortunately so skewed, Islamic and is of a turban’s man cocktail party. Dress up well for a debate. Think

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      • 10 January 2013 16:37, by zulu

        Congratulations to the freedom fighers, SLM for capturing two important towns in Darfru. SAF was defeated badly by SLM. Kick the fake arab wanna be in their butt

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        • 10 January 2013 17:14, by Northern Sudanese

          you are full of imaginations, stop spreading your dreams and go get your food from that white helicopter ving to before the cowboy shoots it down, yo dark bold headed ugly mama is crying for someone to fuck her, make sure that cowboy doesn’t get her pussy via dollars at night loool btw where is yo smelly daddy? hopefully he survived that rape of his personal pussy that day loool

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  • 10 January 2013 15:21, by akoonapg

    Lol I knew real Arabs would not associate themselves with fake Arabs in Sudan, how stupid black people in Sudan discriminate to his own brothers. Your days are numbered Bashir.

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    • 10 January 2013 17:10, by Northern Sudanese

      akoonapg
      about 2 of our most vital projects nationwide were partly financed by Qatar and Kuwait so your sentences don’t make sense

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  • 10 January 2013 17:21, by barbayo

    Mr jalab your people are begging it better to sit side of road and beg, still soon SPLA-N and other rebels be in Khartoum , those fake Arab will run out from the land of black.

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  • 10 January 2013 17:34, by barbayo

    Mr jalab your people are begging it better to sit side of road and beg, still soon SPLA-N and other rebels be in Khartoum , those fake Arab will run out from the land of black.

    repondre message

  • 10 January 2013 17:44, by barbayo

    keep crying and crying ,becuse your economic was collaps if one hundred doller is 700 hundred Sudanes pound and in black market 850 pound but look South Sudan one hundred is doller 270 pound and in black market one hundred doller is 385 pound .

    repondre message

  • 10 January 2013 21:17, by akoonapg

    HAHAHA Northern Sudanese guy, you can keep pretending everything is OK because you are selfish, you don’t care about the suffering of your people who have no food.
    You brag about infrastracture but who will work or build jobs when education in Sudan is so poor, the Quran is an outdated old book written by a 7th centuary Arab who married a 9 year old girl, you people are backwards and uneducated,

    repondre message

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