African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will provide Sudan next week with $700 million in funding to support the energy and communications sectors, the Sudanese prime minister said on Wednesday.
The pledge was made during a meeting with bank officials in Paris earlier this week, Abdalla Hamdok told a news conference on his arrival in Khartoum from the French capital.
The bank also agreed to buy 22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for Sudan worth $220 million, Hamdok said, bringing the total funding to nearly $1 billion.
During the Paris trip, International Monetary Fund member countries agreed to clear Sudan’s arrears to the institution, removing a final hurdle to the African nation getting wider relief on external debt of at least $50 billion.
Sudan is emerging from decades of economic sanctions and isolation under ousted former President Omar al-Bashir.
It had built up huge arrears on its debt, but has made rapid progress towards having much of it forgiven under the IMF and World Bank’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) scheme, which would reopen access to badly needed cheap international financing.
In order to reach the “decision point” that would unlock the HIPC process in June, Sudan recently cleared its arrears to the World Bank and the African Development Bank with bridge loans from Western states.
In Paris, the Saudi finance minister also discussed opening branches of Saudi banks in Sudan to facilitate the movement of capital between the two countries and remittances of Sudanese expatriates, the state news agency, SUNA, reported on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Alaa Swilam; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Peter Cooney)