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Sudan Traders See Economic Hope With Change in Government

Sudan Traders See Economic Hope With Change in Government
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The ongoing protests in Sudan have focused on political reforms, and a demand for civilian rule. However, shop owners in the capital Khartoum are hoping the ouster of long time president Omar al-Bashir will also boost the economy, which has labored for years under shortages and sanctions.

Among those looking forward to a brighter future is jeweler Hamid Ahmed. Gathered with his seven children around a big round table in his living room for breakfast, he enjoys their daily pleasure of bread, cheese and olives.

Under Sudan's former president Omar al-Bashir it was not easy for Ahmed to make enough money to put food on the table for everybody.

But the cost of living under food and fuel shortages and 70 percent inflation sparked a revolution that removed Bashir from power and raised hopes for economic change.

Ahmed is smiling when he tells how he feels about the revolution. Cites the Sudanese saying "The air came," he says he feels better now, because the people can work without anyone against them.

In the old Arabic Souq in central Khartoum is a maze of narrow streets with clothing shops with men sitting in front of them waiting for clients, drinking tea.

Before Sudan’s military ousted Bashir on April 11, traders here were stressed by economic problems, but also lived in fear of the secret police. While having a tea break, trader Hassan Mohamed tells how life was.

He says before the revolution there was no cash money, no freedom of speech and no rights. He says people were afraid to talk about politics.

Bashir's removal and ongoing protests for civilian rule have inspired the people of Sudan and raised new hopes for traders like Ahmed.

He says prices have improved and he hopes this market will keep improving after the revolution.

The fruits of Sudan’s revolution include billions of dollars in aid from the Middle East and a chance the United States could lift a state sponsor of terrorism label, freeing access to loans.

Since Bashir’s ouster, the Sudanese pound has nearly doubled in value in black market trading against the dollar.

But while Sudanese jeweler Ahmed looks forward to better sales, like the protesters he also hopes for a civilian-led government and a better future for his children.