State-enshrined grand corruption, financial mismanagement, covert budgets, and war on citizenry found to drive chronic economic crisis and human suffering
A “deep state” consisting of regime insiders and commercial enterprises run by agencies in the security sector has covertly hijacked the national economy in Sudan, reveals a new report published today by the Enough Project.
The report, “Khartoum’s Economic Achilles’ Heel: The Intersection of War, Profit, and Greed” by Suliman Baldo, details how a collapsing economy and widespread human suffering in Sudan is the result of state-enshrined grand corruption, ill-advised economic policies, and expensive brutal wars against its own citizens.
Suliman Baldo, Enough Project Advisor and report author, said: “Sudan’s worsening economic crisis is largely self-inflicted. International sanctions and Sudan’s isolation compounded the problem but did not create it. Taking desperately needed bold steps to end the civil war, root out corruption, and reduce government spending would go a long way to easing the suffering of the Sudanese people and ending the country’s isolation.”
The report findings directly undercut recent public relations and lobbying efforts by the government of Omar al-Bashir claiming that U.S. sanctions are the sole cause of the nation’s chronic economic crisis. The report further exposes how high level corruption and mismanagement diverts public money away from services and sectors that would benefit the people.
Baldo added: “Sudan will be able to overcome its economic difficulties only when its government makes the welfare and development of its people its top priority. For that to happen, the regime has to be seriously and proactively engaged in diplomatic efforts for finding a just and lasting peace for the country with the participation and direct involvement of the opposition, civil society groups, communities affected by Sudan’s many conflicts, and all other stakeholders and actors with influence.”
Tighter enforcement of sanctions on Iran, Russia, and other targets has prompted global financial institutions to stop doing business with clients in high risk jurisdictions, including Sudan. This “de-risking” process has led to financial isolation and created a cash crunch for Sudanese state coffers. Regime officials and their supporters have relied on this cash to maintain high-cost lifestyles and fund patronage and security networks.
The report argues that financial pressure on Sudanese leaders can be tightened and eased by U.S. policymakers in strategic ways as part of a system of coercion and incentives to support an inclusive peace deal in Sudan that leads to a transition to democracy.
Baldo added: “While it is true the African Union and the UN are leading diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan, the US wields considerable influence to advance that regional and international push, using leverage it has from the application of its economic sanctions on Sudan.”
7 key report recommendations:
To the Government of Sudan, the Enough Project recommends the following:
1. End conflict. Facilitate a genuinely comprehensive and inclusive solution to end Sudan’s civil wars, and steer the country to a democratic transition.
2. Increase accountability. Fight official corruption, and introduce transparency measures. Give Sudan’s independent Auditor’s Chamber prosecutorial powers. Empower other accountability institutions, such as Sudan’s Chamber of Public Grievances (ombudsman chamber), according to well-established international standards. Reform the mandate, composition, and powers of the recently-formed National Anti-Corruption Commission in accordance with international standards and best practice.
3. Protect the independence of the judiciary and the media.
4. Support the tracing and return of stolen public funds.
To the Sudanese opposition, civil society, academics, and institutional reform experts, the Enough Project recommends:
5. Plan for integration and reform. Work for better coordination and integration of ongoing initiatives for the development of alternative policies for the reform of the economic sector and other sectors vital for the stability of the state in the event of transition to democracy.
6. Research and document all stolen public funds and assets. Prepare plans for the recovery of these assets and for holding accountable those responsible for their diversion.
To the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Enough Project recommends:
7. Support illicit finance investigations. Provide technical assistance to civil society efforts to enable them to identify, investigate, and document illicit financial flows from Sudan, in particular from the diversion of oil revenue. Then, enhance accountability by supporting efforts to recover such funds.
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.