France says to lend Sudan US$1.5b to pay off IMF debt

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 18, 2013. ― Reuters pic
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 18, 2013. ― Reuters pic

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PARIS, May 17 — France will lend Sudan US$1.5 billion to help the African nation pay off its massive debt to the International Monetary Fund as it emerges from decades of authoritarian rule, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said today.

“President Macron will confirm later today that France will provide the US$1.5 billion bridge loan to clear Sudan’s arrears to the IMF,” Le Maire said at the opening of an international conference aimed at helping Sudan in its transition to democratic government.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is attending the Paris conference, seeking help in paying off a US$60 billion foreign debt bill and also hoping to secure investment deals.

Hamdok is pushing to rebuild and reform a crippled economy and end Sudan’s international isolation under former strongman Omar al-Bashir, whose three decades of rule were marked by economic hardship and international sanctions.

“Re-building an attractive and resilient market takes time, but today, I hope we will convince private investors that the fundamentals for business are fully there,” Le Maire said.

Tomorrow, French President Emmanuel Macron will join Hamdok and other African leaders for an economic summit for the continent, hoping to fill a financing shortfall of nearly US$300 billion caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. — AFP

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