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Sudan’s Bashir pledges to remove obstacles facing Arab agricultural investments

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January 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir urged Arab states to invest in his country’s infrastructure such as electricity, railways, roads and ports and enter into strategic partnerships with Khartoum to secure Arab food supplies.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (C) is welcomed by South Sudan’s Vice-President James Wani Igga (R) upon his arrival at Juba’s airport on January 6, 2014 (AFP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

In prepared remarks at the opening session of the extraordinary meeting of the Arab League Economic and Social Council in Khartoum, Bashir acknowledged the existence of impediments to investments that his government is working to remove.

"We acknowledge legislative, administrative and structural impediments hindering investment in our country…We have worked on addressing it and removed a lot of them and seek to remove the remaining ones," Bashir said.

He described agriculture as the "real gold" and a resource that is inexhaustible and the quickest way for development.

The convening of the forum is in response to Bashir’s initiative at the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh last year.

Bashir stressed that Arab support contributed to the completion of several projects aimed at achieving Arab food security in Sudan especially those associated with infrastructure such as Merowe dam, Ruseiris dam, Upper Atbara and Setit dam which contributed to the increase in the area irrigated as well as electricity generation.

He referenced a German study which concluded that Sudan needs more Arab support to build more infrastructure which is necessary for the expansion of agricultural areas and livestock.

The president said that food security in the Arab countries is a real and large challenge that requires comprehensive and effective treatments. He noted that Arab countries are among the world ’s biggest importers of grain, import two-thirds of its sugar needs, most of the meat and milk needs, all of its tea, a significant portion of its oils, fruits and vegetables needs in light of the increasing population.

Bashir said Arab countries have ample opportunities for solidarity and economic integration and that it must intensify efforts in the fields of agricultural and livestock production to provide food. He also called the Arab countries to allocate surpluses from oil revenues for agricultural investment.

He emphasized that Sudan has a big potential to become a food abundant country if investors flock there and reiterated Sudan’s commitment to accept any Arab initiatives that benefit all countries.

(ST)

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