Sudan: A mountain to climb | Analyst Picks | RiskMap 2020
A mountain to climb
For the first time in thirty years, Sudan is facing a future without former president Omar al-Bashir. In 2020, the new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok will need to focus on the economy. The government never fully recovered from the secession of South Sudan, which took 75% of oil revenues following its independence, and Hamdok needs to look for new sources of revenue aside from the foreign aid flows from the Middle East. Crucially, he needs to secure the removal of Sudan from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list so that the country can unlock emergency financing and debt relief from multilateral institutions. There is momentum building for the delisting and the slow re-engagement with Western countries will help resolve Sudan’s debt crisis while boosting its economic recovery prospects. Investors will find new opportunities across sectors, as the government looks to increase Sudan’s attractiveness in the quest for new sources of revenue.
But Hamdok will have to delicately balance the high expectations of the civilian movement that brought down Bashir, and the extensive interests of the military who retain significant political power and economic influence. Popular protests over the price of basic commodities and the continued presence of the military in civilian affairs will continue. The governments negotiations with armed groups in the west and south will proceed slowly, given the mistrust between parties. And so, while there is great optimism over the post-Bashir era of Sudan, pro-business reforms will be slow given these political distractions.