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The Sudanese-Italian Relations: the Sudanese-Italian Economic Forum

By: Mohammed Osman

Khartoum, (Sudanow) - The Sudanese-Italian relations are deep-rooted dating back to the Kush Kingdom and the Roman Empire when correspondence, emissaries, ambassadors and trade were exchanged between the two nations.

This is demonstrated by ports on the Red Sea area, with Roman names and Latin antiquities found in buildings and temples in Merowe and Musawarat, in addition to ancient scripts in Latin that showed Roman culture existed in the Sudan in the past.

As it is geographically located between north and south Europe and between Europe and the Middle East, Italy is seen as being closer to the African-Middle Eastern region. Italy seeks to establish partnership and dialogue between the major industrial nations and those of the African Continent for resolving current international crisis and problems, in addition to establishing cooperation in numerous aspects, including the economic and developmental spheres and the fields of environment, climatic change, peace, security and stability.

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The Sudanese dipolomatic mission in Italy endeavors to strengthen ties:
The Sudanese diplomatic mission in Italy, as represented by Ambassador Amirah Hassan Dawood Gurnas, believes if contacts are intensified and ties are strengthened and if concern is paid to the economic, political and cultural fields, the bilateral relations will grow stronger. According to Ambassador Gurnas, the development in the bilateral relations is reached in the framework of a strategic vision through which mutual benefits are achieved.
The mission has recentlyproposed organization of what is known as the Country Presentation, that is, the First Sudanese-Italian Economic Forum that was hosted by Italy. This Forum was preceded by visits paid by Italian businessmen and investors in October 2013. The Forum was aimed at displaying the economic resources of the Sudan and the plentiful investment opportunities in it.

The Sudanese-Italian Economic Forum , October 13, 2013:
Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, said in his briefing before the convening of this Forum that it came as an extension of successful investment Forum s held in The Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Spain which he said had obviously contributed to pushing forward the economic relations between the Sudan and those countries as well as other European nations. Those gatherings, he went on, resulted in significant economic and investment activities by Germany and Spain in addition to the launching of Sudanese, Spanish and Gulf partnerships in the field of industry, targeting the Gulf, COMMESSA and local markets.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister lauds the Sudanese-Italian ties:-
The Sudanese-Italian economic Forum was held in the offices of the Italian Businessmen Union in Rome in the presence of the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, the Sudanese Foreign Minister, the Sudanese Ambassador to Rome, a number of Sudanese ambassadors in Europe, representatives of more than a hundred Italian companies and a large number of Italian businessmen and more than a hundred Sudanese businessmen. Observers belive this demonstrated an interest by Italy to get acquainted with the opportunities and fields of investment in the Sudan. The companies which participated in the Forum included major ones with international expertise and technology in numerous fields.

Addressing the Forum , the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Marta Dassu, commended the relations between her country and the Sudan in all fields, indicating that Italy has contributed to infrastructure, development and health projects in the Sudan. She expected that the Forum would contribute to pushing the bilateral relations forward.

She added that the Sudan is in a position to play a role in stretching bridges of cooperation between the African and Arab regions.
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The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said the credit for developing the relations between the Sudan and the European Union goes to a conviction by Italy of the positive role played by the government of the Sudan and the Sudan’s positive stances towards other countries, particularly South Sudan.

She enumerated her country’s contribution to agriculture, industry, infrastructure, cattle breeding and health fields in addition to controlling the floods damage. The Sudan occupies the 24th place among the countries which get Italian support, she said, adding that the European Union has asked Italy to offer 13 million Euros in support of health services in the Sudan’s eastern states during 2014-2016.

She made reference to her country’s contribution to construction of the Peace Hospital for Heart diseases in addition to the archaeological repairs in the Sudan.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister affirmed her country’s commitment to the outcome of the Sudanese-Italian economic Forum .
Karti : Italy plays remarkable role in different walks of life in Sudan:

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti , also speaking at the Forum , hailed the role of Italy, noting that it has played a remarkable role in different fields of life. He said by hosting this Forum , Italy has displayed the depth of its relations with the Sudan.


For his part, Investment Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail reviewed the fields and opportunities of investment in the Sudan and affirmed that the Italian businessmen would be welcome for investment in the Sudan, pledging that all procedures would be facilitated to them.

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Sudan’s Ambassador Amirah Hassan Gurnas described as strong the bilateral relations between the two countries, adding that the economic Forum was aimed at achieving a wide leap in those relations, benefitting from the Italian tremendous economic possibilities, especially in the field of food and other industries of world standards. She commended encouragement by the Italian government to the Italian companies and businessmen to unfold unto the world, especially Africa, for carrying out economic activities which can promote the bilateral relations between the two countries.
She said the Forum is aimed at benefitting from the Italian external policy which differs from the European Union in its relations with the Sudan on a number of issues and the warmth displayed by the Italian embassy in Khartoum and the Foreign Ministry in Rome.

Encounters between the Sudanese and Italian sides
The meetings of the Forum reviewed the opportunities and fields of investment in the Sudan and the privileges and facilities provided by the new law for attracting the foreign investors and the adequate guarantees offered to them. Examples of the successful investment in the Sudan were displayed along with the funding issues, the banks and the role of the UN agencies in the Sudan. A meeting of Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti was arranged with the Italian Foreign Minister, Madam Emma Ponino in the premises of Italian Foreign Ministry that discussed ways and means for strengthening the bilateral economic and commercial ties and raising the trade exchange volume between the two countries.

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Minister Karti also held a symposium in the Italian international organization association in which he reviewed the relations between the Sudan and South Sudan and the progress of implementation of the agreements the two countries have concluded. He also gave a briefing on the outcome of the recent visit by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to Khartoum that contributed to improvement of the bilateral relations between Khartoum and Juba. Karti also gave a briefing to the Sudanese ambassadors in Europe on the current situation and the economic measures which were taken in the aftermath of removing subsidies from fuels. He said what was introduced of the economic policies and reforms would contribute to improvement of the economic situation.

A number of ministries, including the Mining, Investment and Tourism, the Businessmen Association, the Khartoum, Red Sea and River Nile states and a number of economic institutions presented briefings on the missions investment opportunities they have and held direct meetings with Italian businessmen and companies, including SHD Company which operates in construction of specialized hospitals, intensive care and recovery rooms and surgical theatres.

Those companies also include Belly Greeny for architecture, Afeco Motorcar Manufacturing Company, Agricoma Company which is specialized in manufacturing agricultural equipment and the Glass Industries Company which made offers for construction of plants of different sizes for manufacturing glass. Another offer was made by Casterozeony Company which operates in constructions, roads and bridges.

The Sudanese side made an offer about the Sunut City project to be built on the Nile Avenue in Khartoum and the possibility of investment in different aspects of the city. A number of Italian companies expressed desire to pay visit to the Sudan in late November.
Dr Sagairoon Deputy Ambassador Italy

Italy supports development projects in East Sudan:-
Among the important accomplishments of the Forum was a declaration by Italy for offering 20 million Euros in support of development and health projects in the Sudan’s eastern states in addition to the European Union entrusting it with supervision of the development support provided to the Sudan.

The Forum was accompanied by cultural and artistic programmes that included a short film about the Sudan and shows on Sudanese traditions.

Examples of achievements of Italian companies in Sudan:-
The major Italian companies which currently operate in the Sudan include:-


-CMC which built the Al-Fatih (September 1st) Tower
- Euromed which is rehabilitating Pullman Hotel (former Hilton)
- Pusi which is carrying out electric and mechanical installations of Khartoum Tower of the National Fund for Social Securities
- Area Office which is furnishing the central Bank of Sudan
- Mefit International which is preparing guiding maps for the states of Khartoum, Gedarif, White Nile and North Kordufan.

As regards the bilateral cultural ties, the report on the Forum indicated that a number of cooperation agreements were concluded by several Sudanese and Italian universities , most important of which are:-

-A cooperation agreement between the University of Khartoum and University of Padova
-A cooperation agreement between the University of Khartoum and Bolognia University
-A cooperation agreement between the Gezira University and University of Chieti
A cooperation agreement between the University of Sudan and Milan University

There is also cooperation between the Faculty of Sciences, Geology, of the University of Khartoum, and the Faculty of Geology, University of Florence, a cooperation programme between the Faculty of Sciences, Physics, University of Khartoum, and the Academy of Science for the Third World. There is presently a number of Sudanese students following studies to obtain masters and doctorates in Italian universities.
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As regards archaeology, the cooperation between the two countries dates back to more than 50 years; as the Italian archaeological missions were among the first international ones that contributed to rescuing the Nubian antiquities following the building of the High Dam. They also contributed during the past few years in rescuing the Hamdab antiquities before the construction of Merowe Dam. The mission organized a three-day seminar on Nubian studies in the Institute for African and Asian Studies, of the University of Khartoum in Italy on May 18, 2009.
END
Mas/MO

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...

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