KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Following are Introductory Remarks by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok for the Positioning Speech of World Bank President David Malpass on September 30th, 2021:
H.E Mr. David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group,
Regional Vice President of the World Bank,
Regional Vice President of IFC,
Members of the Sovereignty Council, Ministers,
Leaders & Representatives of Academia, Political Parties,
Civil Society, the Private Sector and The Youth,
Heads & Representatives of Diplomatic Missions,
Regional & International Organizations,
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great honor for Sudan, and Africa, that, Mr. President, you deliver your annual positioning speech here in Khartoum, within walking distance of the confluence of the Nile, which has seen the ebb and flow of history for millennia.
It is indeed a historical moment. Today reminds us of the visit by President Robert McNamara, who came nearly 50 years ago. He wanted to ensure that the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement, which ended one of Africa’s longest civil wars, was anchored on prosperity, political stability, and economic development.
Again, your visit comes at another pivotal moment in Sudan’s history. The December Revolution of 2018 was led by women and youth, who demanded a decisive break from the past decades of conflict, isolation, authoritarianism, and corruption. Our collective ambition is to end internal conflict once and for all, to create justice and accountability, and to emerge from the transitional period as a full-fledged democracy and an anchor of stability in this region of Africa.
We have no doubts that, this transition can only succeed if it is anchored on economic opportunity for all Sudanese, irrespective of gender, geography, race, religion, or income level.
We know our economy requires deep, fundamental reforms to remove distortions, strengthen economic governance, establish stability, and unleash the private sector.
As a critical observer of the World Bank over the years; I can say, the Bank has evolved to the point of accepting and tolerating Policy difference, and National ownership and partnership, within the context of the Global Convergence of Development Thinking.
And as we launched our homegrown economic reforms in 2020, we appreciate the fact that the World Bank stepped forward to support us and encourage others to do so. We are grateful to all countries that helped Sudan reach the HIPC Decision Point and Paris Club agreement and we are fully cognizant of the active role of the World Bank for this to happen. Moreover, the World Bank contributed over $3 Billion package of projects and programs to support agriculture, water, transport, electricity, health care, education, Family Support Program and many other priorities. IFC is also now engaged in identifying private investments.
Our reforms have begun to bear fruits despite the challenges of COVID-19, floods and the influx of refugees from neighboring countries. Inflation declined in August by 35%. Our currency has stabilized. Our trade deficit declined to $1.2 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to $2.1 billion the first half of 2020. Non-oil exports are higher. Remittances increased from $136 million the first half of 2020 to $717 million the first half of 2021, and bank deposits and financing are increasing.
Mr. President Malpass, Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is still a steep path to attain our goals. Many families lost their livelihoods, millions of children lost a full year of schooling and there is increasing pressure on already weak service delivery mechanisms.
To sustain the gains and address the challenges, we must progress in a number of important areas: We need to strengthen economic governance, including ensuring that non-security state enterprises are under the transparent governance of the Ministry of Finance. We also need to rebuild an effective civil service based on merit and focused on results. We must develop our human capital and ensure every girl, boy, woman and man in every part of the country has an opportunity to lead a safe, healthy and productive life.
To do so, we need to empower the youth of today and future generations with appropriate education and skills, establish efficient social service delivery systems and create meaningful jobs. We want to leverage technology to leapfrog and rebuild our infrastructure and financial sector, and we want to develop the long-neglected, marginalized parts of Sudan. Our goal is to ensure the reforms lead to equitable and sustainable growth and prosperity.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have an opportunity to put Sudan back on a strong growth trajectory. Sudan is endowed with great natural and human resources. From the coastal stretch of the Red Sea in the East to the forests of Gum Arabic in the west, Sudan is rich in fertile land, water, and minerals. Sudan has 10% of the world’s available arable land, is the third largest exporter of gold in Africa and eighth in the world, among the largest livestock resources in Africa, and 80% of its land can generate the highest levels of solar and wind energy. But our greatest wealth lies in our human capital: A large young population with brave and determined young women and men are working to build a Sudan that is diverse, democratic, just, and prosperous.
The Transitional Government is committed to laying a strong foundation for a bright future for all citizens of this great country. This will require immense investments, financial and technical resources, the active engagement of the private sector, and the continued support of international partners.
The Sudanese people have borne a very high cost of the reform, and we cannot take their patience for granted. We want to reach the point and soon at which results will be felt by ordinary Sudanese. We want to build the necessary confidence for the private sector to invest and create jobs and prosperity.
To conclude, we have indeed inherited an extremely challenging situation of a country that has struggled with conflict for most of its 65years of post-independence. The last 30 years were exceptionally challenging. Our journey has so many challenges and risks, but we are determined and committed to make a break with our past and work towards achieving lasting peace, sustainable development and democracy that meet the hopes and aspirations of our people.
I thank you for your kind attention.
*Cabinet Media Office*
*30th September 2021*
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