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Sudan’s Off the U.S Terror List, What Next?

For almost three decades, Sudan was constrained by economic sanctions that severely restricted its transactions with the wider world, adding to a long list of economic problems that included corruption, authoritarianism and conflict. In October, outgoing US President Donald Trump announced that he would remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list (SST) – the country was placed on the list in 1993 under the former Islamist regime – after the transitional civilian-military government in Khartoum agreed to pay $335m to the victims of the 1998 bomb attacks against US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and normalise relations with Israel. The removal, which must still pass the final hurdle of approval by the US Congress, was heralded as a key step in getting Sudan back on the right path, as it allows global banks and international financial institutions (IFIs) to interact with the country. But while it is likely to lead to an IMF programme, attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and open possibilities for the private sector, Sudan’s removal from the list is not a silver bullet for the battered economy. There is some hope that foreign entities – other than its traditional Gulf partners – will take a serious interest in Sudan. Sectors that might attract corporate interest include agriculture, technology, mining and fast-moving consumer goods, according to experts. But the challenging macroeconomic environment remains a serious impediment.