Statement by Prime Minister, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok at the Launch of Sudan Partnership Forum (SPF)

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Statement by Prime Minister, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok at the Launch of Sudan Partnership Forum (SPF)

*Your excellencies; Esteemed Partners.*
*Ladies and Gentlemen,*
It is a pleasure and privilege to be with you here today to celebrate the launching of the Sudan Partnership Forum. 
*The Transitional Government of Sudan inherited a challenging political and economic situation.*
This included decades long conflicts, global isolation due to Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, dire security situation, weak governance institutions and civil services and rampant corruption. 
As well as a collapsed economy, characterized by deep structural imbalances, fiscal deficit, and mounting debt. Sudan’s debt burden estimated at about 60 billion dollars, was twice its 2019 GDP, adversely affecting the country’s credit rating and access to financing through traditional means. 
 
 
This situation was intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastating floods of the past 2 years. The covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented health, social and economic difficulties, and shattered Sudan’s growth prospects. 
*Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Transitional Government established after the signing of Juba Peace Agreement (JPA)* in October 2020, identified Five priorities:
On the Economic front, the first priority, and as you know we have succeeded in implementing the harsh, but necessary macroeconomic reforms set by the government in its home-grown program that was supported by an IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP), where we took tough decisions including addressing the fuel subsidies issue, but also more importantly taking difficult decisions as unification of the exchange rate including the custom’s rate, those were not easy decisions. But we had to take them to put our economy on the right track, and to mitigate the impact of these decisions we have put forward a few measures such as the Family Support Program, known locally as “Thamarat” and “Selatie” to soften its impact on the most vulnerable citizens.
Second priority is to realize the second phase of peace with SPLM/N led by Abdul-Aziz Al-Hilu, and SLM led by Abdul-Wahid Nur, and making sure at the same time that (JPA) is implemented in a timely manner with the consensus of all parties. We have already signed a Declaration of principles with SPLM/N last February and hope to resume a second round of talks as soon as possible. We have an unwavering commitment to silencing the guns in our country once and for all. 
Security Sector Reform is the third priority for our government, mandated through the security arrangements and the mechanism for protection of civilians of the JPA. No democratic transition can be sustained without rebuilding our security sector on new values, the values of the December revolution.
On foreign relations & policies, our fourth priority, we’ve come a long way to overhaul the image and rebrand our country as a beacon for regional peace and stability, with the intent to spread 
our model of civilian-military partnership and transition to neighbors who are undergoing similar transitions. 
As chair of IGAD we are Looking at transnational and trans regional conflicts in the IGAD and the Horn of Africa region, and working with regional and international partners to ensure delivery of aid to people in need; we need here to continue our efforts to stop ongoing wars and guard against setbacks and the re-emergence of old and new conflicts.
Our fifth priority relates to issues of democratic transition with the aim to establish and complement all transitional period commissions and structures, and launch a comprehensive transitional justice process, which is already underway. In this respect we hope to present the region and the world with a new model of transitional justice that upholds the values of our people in reconciliation coupled with the principle of ending impunity, not overlooking the experiences of countries and societies of the same reality. 
Besides the massive progressive legislative reform agenda, we have been implementing over the last two years, we’re also preparing for elections as one of the most important transitional commitments. These preparations include completing a population census by mid-year 2023, yet we have a strong commitment from the national census bureau that any data needed for preparations of the elections will be available by mid-year 2022, as well as preparation of the electoral law and establishment of a National Elections Commission along with establishing a national constitutional conference commission, and other transitional institutions such as the national legislative council and the appointment of an Anti-Corruption Commission.
*Esteemed Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen,*
 
Although the economic, political and security situation remains fragile and challenging, the Transitional Government accomplished many strides in the right direction, supported by an effective partnership with the international community, both bilateral and multilateral. 
This partnership was translated into numerous programs and processes including the Friends of Sudan starting in 2019, the Staff Monitored Program with the IMF starting in February 2020, Berlin, Paris and Riyadh conferences in 2020, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative with the World Bank and other partners starting in June 2020, while sustained efforts of dialogue with the US authorities culminated in Sudan’s removal from the US State Sponsor of Terrorism List (SSTL), which became effective on 14 December 2020.
 
The cumulative impact of all this, is the return of Sudan as a member in good standing with the international financial institutions for the first time in over 30 years. The establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) in June 2020 was another remarkable achievement. 
*Today the Transitional Government recognizes the great potential for social, political and economic transformation and will rely on both its own financial and human resources and resilience as well as its international partners to achieve such transformation.* A lot of work remains to be done. 
 
Our reforms in the interim period and beyond include an IMF Extended Credit Facility (ECF) program with major commitments to reform.
To achieve resilience and inclusive growth, the Transitional Government has prepared a framework for socioeconomic development and has finalized a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) covering the period 2021 to 2023. The PRSP was endorsed by the full cabinet in May 2021. 
 
The Government’s economic and financial reforms during 2020-2023 focus on deepening fiscal sustainability and domestic revenue mobilization and strengthening public financial management (PFM). 
 
The Central Bank will continue to modernize its banking sector regulations and strengthen its supervisory capacity while enhancing the compliance of banks with prudential regulations, including limits on foreign exchange exposure. We appreciate and understand very well that after 30 years of isolation our banking sector needs an overhaul to equip and prepare ourselves to this opening to the rest of the world.
The government is stepping up efforts to improve the business environment to enhance competitiveness and support strong and inclusive growth, with support from our international partners.
The government is committed to strengthening governance and intensifying the fight against corruption in line with the Constitutional Declaration of 2019. To this end, a new Anti-Corruption Commission Law was recently approved that includes the establishment of an Anti-corruption commission, and you all must have notices that for the last two days there’s an advert in the local media calling for nominations for the Anti-Corruption commission members, which is a step in the right direction for upholding transparency and accountability, along with realizing the standards that meets the aspirations of the public at large. The government is also undertaking comprehensive state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms. 
*Ladies and Gentlemen,*
We are looking forward to the international community to stand by our side throughout all these reform efforts. 
*Sudan remains thankful to the continued support of the international community* to its economic and financial reform program as it seeks to move from economic stabilization to broad-based and inclusive growth. 
This launch here today signals the start of a process to define the roles and responsibilities of the Government and its partners and build the Sudan Partnership Forum (SPF) as a national mechanism for the coordination of development assistance under the leadership and ownership of the GoS. The SPF will foster alignment on the planning and delivery of peace, security and development support against well set national priorities and in line with established global principles of effective development cooperation.
*I Thank you for your kind attention!*
 
*Cabinet Media*
*9th Sep 2021*