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Sudan’s external debt hits $42 billion: official

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June 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government today announced that the size of its foreign debt rose to a record $42 billion by the end of 2012 and blamed it on accumulation of interest arrears.

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Yahiya Hussein Babiker, a member of Sudan’s negotiating team with South Sudan (Ashorooq TV)

Yahiya Hussein Babiker, a member of Sudan’s negotiating team with South Sudan, said in an interview with pro-government Ashorooq TV that most of the debt was used in projects that were established in the 1970’s.

He said that the debt started exploding ever since and the situation was exacerbated due of non-payment and interest that accrued as a result.

Sudan’s external debt is estimated to have grown by 27% since 2008 from $32.6 billion to $41.4 billion in 2011. The IMF forecasted the debt level to reach $43.7 billion in 2012 and $45.6 billion in 2013. The latter represents 83% of Sudan’s 2011 GDP, which was $55.1 billion.

Around three quarters of Sudan’s external debt are owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations and other non-member states. The remaining balance is equally divided between commercial banks as well as international and regional financial bodies.

Babiker noted that most of Sudan’s debt is owed to three groups of creditors namely the Paris Club, Arab Group and the London Club.

The official stressed that Khartoum meets all the technical requirements to qualify for debt relief and warned that the hefty debt burden impedes the flow of foreign investments.

But last April an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements.

“I’m not saying this is impossible but it is difficult because it is linked to political issues which requires a public relations effort with member countries” IMF deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department Edward Jameel said during a visit to Khartoum.

He pointed out that any debt relief deal with Sudan would require the unanimous consent of all 55 countries in Paris Club which he suggested would be improbable.

Babiker said that his country has reached an agreement with African Union to work on debt relief through a formula known as the "zero solution". He stressed that stability of relations with South Sudan would help boost Sudan’s chances in this regard.

He also acknowledged that U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan represents a major obstacle in resolving the debt issue because it is based on complex legislations that are sometimes linked to the security situation in the country.

Khartoum and Juba are to sort out the issue of dividing the portion of pre-partition external debt each side will carry.

The head of Sudan’s negotiating team on post-secession issues Idris Abdel-Gader stated last March that the two countries agreed to work together to address Sudan’s debt and reach out to donors in a bid to have it written it off within two years.

Abdel-Gader added that if the debt relief was not possible, then the only remaining option is to split the debt between the two countries.

(ST)

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  • 17 June 2013 04:07, by Dinkanuer

    We were on process to pay some of of your debts but you don’t get it. How foolish is this government of bashir?

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    • 17 June 2013 04:17, by John The President

      The Sudanese people have chosen to perish on earth, why not install a new gov’t that will polish the image of your country, build strong tire with neighbors and have some of your problem solves. @Ali, Jalaby, Soldier prove this wrong.

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  • 17 June 2013 04:40, by Sundayw

    Splitting the debt between South Sudan and Sudan? Hahahahaha!! that is really funny. First, the debt accumulated because of weapons used to fight the gallant SPLA between 1983-2003. Splitting the debt is like asking the South Sudan to help resolve accounts used to fight us. We will see who in the South Sudan is crazy enough to agree to such ridiculous idea.

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    • 17 June 2013 07:11, by Kenyang

      "First, the debt accumulated because of weapons used to fight the gallant SPLA between 1983-2003. Splitting the debt is like asking the South Sudan to help resolve accounts used to fight us. We will see who in the South Sudan is crazy enough to agree to such ridiculous idea." -Sudayw
      Sudan debt was less then $5billion before 1983. You put it correctly bro.

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  • 17 June 2013 05:25, by Black Power

    Sudan is broke to the core. The bastards in Khartoum are just bluffing. 42B and counting yikes!

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  • 17 June 2013 06:26, by Gatluak P

    it is absolutely ridiculous’’ to continue singing war against south ’when the country is in a huge debt like this.

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  • 17 June 2013 07:05, by BM Bol

    It’s not very often that the public get to read/hear about this explosive topic. I am not sure what degree of freedom does Yahiya Hussein Babiker have to freely speak on such issues without losing his job.

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  • 17 June 2013 07:11, by seeker

    It is even less than my expectation because , accumulation of expensive weapons is equivalent to accumulation of expensive debts it soud gooooood and if we may help you,we are going to connected you with Unity state giants collaboratrs.

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  • 17 June 2013 09:22, by Jalaby

    No worries,we will put that huge bill in South Sudan responsibility because the south is the root cause of all Sudan troubles including that debt big bill!
    One way or another and as long as our pipeline is the main source of food and means life to them then the south will end up paying all that billion dollar!
    Sudan is catching them hard from their "Testicles" LOL

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    • 17 June 2013 11:18, by Tutbol

      "Abdel-Gader added that if the debt relief was not possible, then the only remaining option is to split the debt between the two countries" Lol Sudantribune is ever reaching a new low since it was hijacked by the rascals propagandists who think that S Sudanese are sheeple to buy their cheap filthy tricks. But anyway, this is how these so-called civilized & reputable news outlets, report these days

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      • 17 June 2013 11:43, by Tutbol

        they were mouthoieces for Libya’s jihadists that toppled Gadafi regime. They even swarmed into Kenya during Kenyans April elections, blowing the horn of their prepared candidate, but they lost with their guy anyway. And if you look how they are reporting the Syrians conflict; they are plain mouth-pieces of Al Kaida, but they still have some people who still call these rogue news outlets reputable.

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