Washington, D.C. – An economic crisis in Sudan, including rapid depreciation of the national currency, severe shortages of essential commodities, and near collapse of public health and education sectors, are the result of 30 years of corruption and economic mismanagement, according to a new Enough Project report published today.
The report, “Sudan’s Self-Inflicted Economic Meltdown: With a Corrupt Economy in Crisis, the Bashir Regime Scrambles to Consolidate Power,” shines a spotlight on the key structural causes of the economic meltdown, detailing distorted economic policies and the direct participation in businesses owned by senior government officials, members of their families, and their business allies.
Dr. Suliman Baldo, report author and Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, said: “Thirty years of economic mismanagement and robust protection of institutional corruption have finally caught up with the regime of President Omar al-Bashir. There is no way out of Sudan’s economic crisis other than the deployment of comprehensive and genuine reform measures. The government should urgently halt its off-budget expenditures on the sprawling security apparatus, seek a just and lasting peace for Sudan’s multiple conflicts, and immediately launch credible measures to fight corruption.”
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Despite the Bashir regime’s efforts in the past to blame U.S. sanctions for its woes, the economic meltdown since the lifting of sanctions shows where the real fault lies. The hardships wrought upon the Sudanese people are homegrown, driven by kleptocratic leaders and insiders who have hijacked Sudan’s rich resources for their personal gain. Until the economy is freed from their destructive influence, peace and prosperity for the Sudanese people will remain a distant dream.”
The report details an array of distorted economic policies and practices that led to the economic crisis, including:
- Heavy debt burden
- Pervasive, large-scale official corruption
- Overspending on the security sector and government bureaucracy & underspending on the productive and social sectors
- Recurrent internal and external deficits in an unfavorable international environment
- Overwhelming government intervention in the economy
- Distorted foreign exchange system
- Squandering of natural resources, in particular gold
The report adds that if Sudan is to sustainably and productively re-engage with the global economy, the Sudanese government must undertake genuine and far-reaching reform measures to attract foreign investments and development assistance, both of which are now inhibited by government practices and the discouraging business environment.
To create pressure for reforms, the report calls on the United States to impose network sanctions on networks responsible for corruption and human rights abuse in Sudan under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program. The report also urges the United States and other governments to issue anti-money laundering advisories focused on corruption and the gold trade, as a means of ensuring accountability and gaining leverage to drive needed change in Sudan.
For businesses looking to invest in Sudan, the report is accompanied by a brief that provides a roadmap for responsible economic engagement in the country — one that avoids the pitfalls of being consumed by the current regime’s kleptocratic practices and contributing to the ongoing crisis.
Annie Callaway, brief author and Deputy Director of Advocacy for Corporate Engagement at the Enough Project, said: “By implementing responsible business practices and supply chain due diligence, private companies and financial institutions can contribute to the establishment of a stable and transparent economy in Sudan. Taking a proactive, risk-based approach to economic re-engagement with Sudan can help end the crippling economic crisis and restore credible institutions that prioritize respect for human rights.”
Click here to read the report.
Click here to read the accompanying brief for businesses.
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About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.