March 20, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The general manager of Sudan’s Export Development Bank (EDB), Mohammed Rashid Mohammed Salem, called for the swift signing of cooperation protocols between the central banks in Khartoum and Juba in the wake of the recent rapprochement between the two countries.
Salem said that such an agreement would allow for a Sudanese banking presence in South Sudan which would help facilitate border trade in line with the deals signed last week.
He said that the lack of Sudanese banks in South Sudan is an impediment to trade between the two countries which could potentially reach a volume of $2 billion annually and encompass 175 lines of commodities.
The agreement, signed in Addis Ababa under the supervision of the African Union (AU), sets a timetable and the mechanisms to enact a cooperation agreement signed by both countries last September.
In addition to oil production, other matters addressed in the cooperation agreement are to be immediately carried out in the next two to three weeks, including security arrangements, the demarcation of borders, the status of people living across borders, trade, economics and pensions.
Landlocked South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July 2011, closed off its 350,000 barrel-per-day output in January last year in a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to send the oil through Sudanese pipelines to the Red Sea.
Now both countries say that they are prepared to resume oil exports which they hope will bring billions of dollars into their beleaguered economies.
The Sudanese banker emphasised the readiness of the EDB to contribute to the development of trade and exports to South Sudan in order to support the banking system there.