Khartoum — The Friends of Sudan group has marked the second anniversary of the overthrow of the Al Bashir regime on April 11, 2019 with a joint statement that hails "the Sudanese people's courage and commitment to securing democratic governance, respect for human rights and peace". On this day two years ago, Omar Al Bashir, who had ruled Sudan for 30 years, was deposed and placed under arrest after a military council seized power in a coup d'état.
The group, which includes the USA, France, Germany, Britain, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt, as well as international institutions, said in a statement today that the Sudanese government has made "remarkable progress" in reaching peace agreements with armed opposition groups and in overcoming Sudan's internal conflicts, corrupt governance, and economic challenges.
"As members of the Friends of Sudan, we are committed to working with the Sudanese people and their transitional government led by Prime Minister Hamdok to implement the transformative tasks outlined in the August 2019 Constitutional Document" the statement said.
The group outlined that it provides sustained political and financial support as Sudan rolls out the Samarat Family Support Programme*, implements the Juba Peace Agreement, secures debt relief, and re-joins the international community.
"We believe further progress in addressing the root causes of Sudan's many challenges require the formation now of an inclusive Transitional Legislative Council. We also encourage the transitional government to strengthen its efforts to protect civilians, adopt an effective anti-corruption law, begin the constitution drafting process and start preparing for elections to mark the successful conclusion of the transition period in early 2024", the statement explained.
The statement underlined that the group will continue to support the efforts of the Sudanese people to achieve peace, inclusive economic growth, and democratic governance with full participation of women and youth. The Paris conference in May will be an important occasion to reinforce partnership with the Sudanese people and their transitional government.
The Family Support Programme Samarat, meaning 'fruits', was launched last year to reduce the impact of economic reforms on low-income families by providing financial aid and improving the social protection system and safety nets.
The programme secured US$ 400 million in funding for the first phase; a US$200 grant from the World Bank and another US$200 from the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support Trust Fund (STARS). STARS is an umbrella coordination platform that includes Canada, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the State and Peacebuilding Fund, and the United Kingdom.
For the second phase of the programme, to scale up activities and reach as many people as possible, an additional US$420 million in funding has been made available. This includes another US$210 million World Bank grant and a US$210 million worth of donor contributions.
The first phase of the programme was officially launched on February 24, 2021, and approximately 11.3 million people are expected to benefit from this initial phase. Eventually, the aim is to reach 80% of the population.
Last year it was estimated that 77 per cent of all Sudanese live in poverty, which means they can spend less than $1,25 a day.