WASHINGTON - A day after Western and Arab nations pledged a total of $1.8 billion in aid to Sudan to help the struggling African nation, a Washington-based analyst says that amount shows the international community is willing to stand behind Sudan’s transitional government.
Donors realize Sudan has a tough road ahead, said Suleiman Baldo, a senior policy advisor at the Enough Project, an organization which works to eliminate genocide, crimes against humanity, and government corruption.
“These representatives of the regional and international community were all expressing support for the people of Sudan as they try to overcome tremendous challenges and difficulties in their transition to democracy and civilian-led rule. And that support, the participants did not limit it to words of praise but also by providing pledges of substantive economic support for the government,” Baldo told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.
The pledges from 40 countries included $352.2 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a tenfold increase from 2019.
That amount, along with the $400 million pledged by the World Bank, is significant, said Baldo.
“It represents an increase of U.S. financing of development projects in the country, in addition to the U.S. being the main contributor to the humanitarian budget for the many war-displaced within Sudan and from the refugees from neighboring countries,” said Baldo.
The USAID pledge of $20 million is earmarked for the Sudan Family Support Program, which makes direct cash transfers to citizens facing economic hardship.
During Thursday’s video conference co-hosted by Germany, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the United States to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
But Sudan must first meet certain policy and statutory requirements for it to be removed from the list and before it starts working with international banks, said Baldo.
“This is essential if Sudan were to renew its relations with international financial institutions and if Sudan were to benefit from rescheduling and forgiveness of its huge debt inherited from three decades of misrule and massive corruption under [Omar al-]Bashir,” said Baldo.
Bashir was overthrown by the military in April 2019 after months of mass protests against his rule.
The conference marked the formal launch of the international community’s financial support for Sudan’s democratic transition after thirty years of punitive sanctions and isolation under Bashir.
Carol Van Dam Falk contributed to this report.