30 January 2014

Sudan: Switzerland Pledges Assistance to Sudan in Debt Relief Efforts

Khartoum — Switzerland is ready to help Sudan manage its foreign debt issue and urging the international community, in its capacity as a member of the Paris Club, to offer debt relief to the East African nation.

Sudan Central Bank governor Abdel-Rahman Hassan (Ashorooq TV)

The Central Bank governor Abdel-Rahman Hassan who met with the outgoing Swiss ambassador Louis-José Touron praised the positive role played by Bern in support of Khartoum in the international arena on the issue of debt .

Hassan emphasized Khartoum's keenness on implementing the agreement signed with Juba aimed at convincing creditors to forgive Sudan's debts especially the country satisfied all conditions to qualify for it.

Khartoum inherited the entire external debt that existed prior to the secession of the south. The two countries have yet to agree on how to split up the debt.

Both sides decided to reach out to creditors to obtain debt relief and if that fails will sit down to see how it can be divided using the "zero option".

Touron for his part, underscored his country's readiness to provide technical support to Sudan in the management of debt.

Sudan's external debt is estimated to have grown by 27% since 2008 from $32.6 billion to $41.4 billion in 2011.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report released last November that Sudan's debt will hit $44.7 billion in 2013 which amounts to 85% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Last year, the deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department at the IMF, Edward Gemayel, warned that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements.

Gemayel, who led a delegation to Khartoum, went on to say that Sudan won't be able to benefit from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative despite fulfilling its conditions unless it succeeds in convincing all 55 members of the Paris Club creditor nations whom he said have the power to slash 67% of conventional debt owed by Sudan

This month, the British Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds said that resolving Sudan's debts is contingent upon Khartoum approving poverty reduction strategy which means the ball is in its court.

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