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Speeches & Transcripts March 26, 2021

Remarks by Axel van Trotsenburg, Managing Director, Operations at the Celebration of Sudan's IDA Arrears Clearance

Your Excellency Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok,

Your Excellency Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim,

other distinguished officials of the Government of Sudan,

Honorable Chargé de Mission of the United States Brian Shukan,

my World Bank Team,

and members of the media,

I can now say with great satisfaction:  Sudan, Welcome Back to the World Bank Group!  We have missed you. 

As a global institution which seeks to work with all countries of the world in eliminating poverty and promoting shared prosperity, the World Bank Group has felt Sudan’s absence from our programming for the past 27 years. 

We today celebrate the clearance of arrears and provision of other support that will allow us to turn the page. 

And… allow us to build a partnership that I hope and expect will greatly benefit the Sudanese people in the years to come.

This moment marks tremendous progress that Sudan has made since the 2019 revolution – including reaching the landmark Peace Agreement and undertaking key reforms to set the country on a path to economic stabilization, recovery, and peace.

It was all the more extraordinary to carry out these reforms while facing the heavy challenges of the past year, including record flooding, locusts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

I salute the Government and the people of Sudan for their courage in moving rapidly on these reforms.

The World Bank looks forward to developing a stronger partnership with Sudan – and stands ready to support the Sudanese people in their efforts to build a vibrant economy that reduces poverty, delivers prosperity and provides for a better future.

Today we celebrate how far we’ve already come:

  • Financing to clear arrears in the amount of $1.15 billion and provide additional budget support of $215 million to cushion the fiscal burden on Government.
  • Commitment of $820M in financing for the Sudan Family Support Program, of which half is grants from the World Bank and half is from generous bilateral partners – whom we refer to as the “Friends of Sudan”
  • Commitment of another around $100M for work on the COVID Health response, basic education, and other areas
  • And, in collaboration  with the IMF, we are working with Sudan and its creditors to deliver debt relief under the HIPC process.  This will allow Sudan to get out of its mountain of debt inherited from the prior government. 

We look forward to quickly agreeing on a pipeline of projects to utilize roughly 2 billion US dollars now available in World Bank financing to be committed over the next 2 years. 

Our private sector arm, the IFC, also expects to provide catalytic investments for Sudan’s economy in the near future.

The WBG support is emblematic of a broad international effort to support Sudan in its transition.  The world wants to see Sudan reintegrate into the global community and prosper. 

On this occasion, I would also like to thank the US government for providing the critically important bridge loan required for the successful arrears clearance that just took place.   This was an important helping hand for Sudan to unlock financing from the World Bank. 

In closing, on behalf of the WBG, I again want to

  • celebrate what we have achieved so far,
  • acknowledge the hard work of the Government of Sudan and the people in emerging from a difficult past, and
  • re-affirm our readiness to work closely with you to face the challenges ahead.

Sudan is now a member in good standing in the World Bank Group family.

Let us move fast to build on our renewed relationship to deliver prosperity and hope for the people of Sudan!