March 7, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese finance and national economy ministry today reiterated that it is eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
The Undersecretary of the ministry Yusuf Abdulla al-Hussein told a visiting delegation from the World Bank that Sudan fulfilled 92% of the conditions stipulated by HIPC using help from international financial institutions in the fields of capacity building and financial accounting.
According to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) the meeting discussed ways and mechanisms to enhance the capabilities and developing public administration of debt to help Sudan address the remaining conditions required to deal with its external debt.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) website, the HIPC Initiative was launched in 1996 by the IMF and World Bank, with the aim of ensuring that no poor country faces a debt burden it cannot manage.
The country seeking relief under HIPC must meet certain criteria including having an unsustainable debt burden, having a track record of reform and sound policies through IMF and World Bank supported programs, developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) through a broad-based participatory process in the country.
Once a country has met these criteria, it can reach its completion point, which allows it to receive the full debt relief committed at the decision point.
Last year the IMF released figures showing that Sudan’s debt will reach $45.7 billion in 2013 up from $39.5 billion in 2010.
Most of Sudan’s debt dates back to the days of late president Ja’afar Nimeiri. It grew from $9 billion in 1985 to approximately $41 billion in 2012. The majority of it is owed to the Arab Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In its annual review of the Sudanese economy held last week, the IMF Executive board urged Khartoum to "step up their dialogue with creditors and donors to garner support for debt relief".
Several countries such as United States, United Kingdom and Germany expressed readiness to offer debt relief but political conditions attached will likely slow down the materialisation of the pledges.