Sudan gets $3bn boost from Saudi, UAE

Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledge $3bn to support Sudan following the ouster of their president Omar al-Bashir.

Oil-rich Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledged $3bn to support Sudan’s economy on Sunday following the ouster of their president Omar al-Bashir.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced $3bn in financial support for Sudan’s military-led government to shore up the country’s economy.

“This is to strengthen its financial position, ease the pressure on the Sudanese pound and increase stability in the exchange rate,” the official Saudi Press Agency SPA said in a statement on their website.

Of the total amount $500m will be deposited in Sudan’s central bank, while $2.5bn will be sent in the form of food, medicine and petroleum products, they said in parallel statements.

Following the announcement protesters on the streets of Khartoum chanted: “We don’t want support from Saudi Arabia.”

In December a government decision to raise the cost of bread to stimulate the economy sparked protests across the country.

The move was intended to pump money into the economy and cover the cost of subsidies on fuel, wheat and pharmaceuticals that hiked annual inflation up to 73% and caused the Sudanese pound to plunge against the dollar.

Over the weekend, demonstrators continued to blockade the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum, calling for the government to hand over power to a civilian-led government during a two-year transition period.

On Monday, the military warned protesters to take down road bocks and proposed a joint military-civilian government, a concession rejected by protesters.

In January Sudan’s central bank issued a call for foreign aid to ease the country’s financial crisis and quell protests caused by the soaring cost of living.

The funds would be used as part of a three-month plan to boost revenue, and prop up the pound which was devalued three times in 2018, the central bank governor Mohamed Khair al Zubair said at the time.

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