KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan began talks this week with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a non-funded programme that could pave the way for international financial support, Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi said on Sunday.
Khartoum is in desperate need of financial help to reorganise its economy. Inflation has been running at nearly 100% and the currency tumbling as the government prints money to subsidise bread, fuel and electricity.
The talks mark a thaw in Sudan’s relationship with the IMF. Until now it has been unable to tap the IMF or the World Bank for support because it is still listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism and has $1.3 billion of IMF arrears.
The U.S. indicated after President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power in April 2019 that it was willing to work to remove Sudan from the terrorism list.
“This week Sudan began negotiations ... to agree on a Staff-Monitored Programme that seeks to open doors for international financing & investment in major development, infrastructure, peacebuilding & job creation projects for youth,” Elbadawi said on Twitter on Sunday.
Sudanese officials recently said they expect Khartoum will be removed from the terror list soon.
Sudan has debts of around $62 billion, including arrears of around $3 billion to international financial institutions, Elbadawi said in October.
IMF communications director Gerry Rice said on Thursday that Sudan had requested talks, which he expected to be completed by around the fourth week of June.
The programme would be “a way for Sudan to show a track record of good policy implementation,” Rice said. “By showing such a track record, it can help Sudan toward clearing its arrears to the IMF, which in turn, and this is the key, can unlock financing from other sources as well.”
Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Daniel Wallis