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COVID-19: Sudan Provides Cash Relief for Citizens

  • The government of Sudan has begun distributing cash handouts under an internationally backed plan to help millions of citizens deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The aid fund is financed from $1.8 billion pledged by 40 countries
  • The economic crisis in Sudan started long before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Bread prices had risen early this year, and many have been forced to queue for hours to buy staple food.
  • However, the Government of Sudan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have come to an agreement on a joint program that will pave the way for international funding and investment.

The government of Sudan has begun distributing cash handouts under an internationally backed plan to help millions of citizens deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The aid fund is financed from $1.8 billion pledged by 40 countries at last month’s conference in Germany, authorities say.

The goal of the conference was to assist the African nation as it transitions from three decades of rule under of the recently ousted autocrat, Omar al-Bashir coupled with the pandemic’s economic impact. This is part of the government’s economic reform deal with the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) last month.

Essam Abbas, director of the digital transformation agency of the finance ministry, said “the program is based on supporting 80 per cent of the country ‘s population with direct cash support from the state.”

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The economic crisis in Sudan started long before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Bread prices had risen early this year, and many have been forced to queue for hours to buy staple food or fill their car with gasoline. Power cuts also last six hours a day, and domestic-use gas bottles are hard to get.

In 2018, the Sudanese economy contracted by 2.3 per cent and in 2019 by 2.5 per cent. It is also projected this year to contract by 1.2 per cent, it said in a report. Moreover, Sudan’s annual inflation rate peaked the 114 per cent mark in May, contributing to the economic crisis in the region.

Sudan’s economic struggles are far from over, particularly as business operations are suffering the impact of constraints put in place to curb coronavirus spread. Over 10,000 cases of the virus and around 650 deaths have been officially registered in the country so far.

However, the Government of Sudan and the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) have come to an agreement on a joint program that will pave the way for international funding and investment. The plan will concentrate on competitive industries, infrastructure, training opportunities and improve efforts to tackle corruption and promote good governance.

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