Panafrican News Agency

EU and World Bank sign agreement to assist families hit by economic reform programme

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The European Union (EU) and the World Bank have signed an agreement to work in partnership on the Sudan Family Support Programme to assist families affected by economic reforms, a press release said here Sunday.

It pointed out that the agreement would allocate a total amount of EUR 92.9 million (USD 110 million) to the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi Donor Trust Fund administered and managed by the World Bank.

The trust fund is the primary financing mechanism for the government-led and implemented Sudan Family Support Programme (SFSP).

At the ceremony, the ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden also announced their support totalling EUR 67 million (78.2 million USD), bringing the total Team Europe contribution to the Family Support Programme to EUR 160 million (186.6 million USD).

The Sudanese government, which is currently engaged in a tough economic reform programme, including the lifting of subsidies on fuel, and partially ending full support to bread, is providing the poorest families in the country with a cash support of less than 20 US dollars each.

A much publicized economic conference is currently going on in Khartoum trying to bring together factions within the political divide of the transitional government, a coalition of central and left wing political parties, to agree on lifting the subsidies.

Prime minister Abdallah Hamdouk told the opening session of the conference on Saturday that he was aware of the suffering of the people but those economic measures were perquisite for any economic revival in the country.

He said he knew that the structural adjustment was required and painful.

Ambassador Robert van den Dool, Head of Delegation of the EU to Sudan said: "I would like to take this opportunity to commend the transitional government for progress achieved.”

He pointed out to the peace agreement the government had initialled with rebel movements in Juba early this month to be signed in full in October, in Juba, or Khartoum.

“A truly comprehensive peace agreement is around the corner and I urge all parties still outside this all important process to rise to the occasion, in putting the interest of the people first and joining this unique peace initiative. “Building a democracy will not be easy, but this peace agreement charts out a participatory and comprehensive road-map towards a democratic dispensation,” the ambassador said.

Prime Minister Hamdouk tweeted later in the day that he was happy to see the European union pledges materializing.

“Pleased to see the European Union honoring Sudan Partnership Conference pledges for Sudanese Families Support Programme (SFSP) in their Agreement with the World bank; an important step in enabling the civilian-led Transitional Government to provide much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable as the cabinet accelerates its economic reforms,” he wrote.


-0-     PANA     MO/RA    27Sept2020