Coup calls debt relief for Sudan into question, France says

Coup calls debt relief for Sudan into question, France says
The Paris Club of around 20 wealthy nations had decided to cancel $14.1 billion of Sudan's debt and reschedule some of the rest - but the 25 October military coup 'calls this process into question', the French foreign ministry said
2 min read
05 November, 2021
Sudan is wheezing under nearly $60 billion of debt [Getty]

The military coup in Sudan has called into question the so-called Paris Club process allowing rich nations to cancel the African country's debt, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

A deal was reached by the club of around 20 wealthy nations on 15 July, cancelling much of the debt owed by Sudan to help it back into the international fold.

"It is evident that the military coup of 25 October calls this process into question," the ministry said in a statement, five months after Paris decided to wipe nearly five billion dollars off the debt owed by Sudan.

In late October, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan's de facto leader since strongman Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019, dissolved the government, detained civilian leaders, and declared a state of emergency.

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Sudan is wheezing under nearly $60 billion of debt, 40 percent of which - or $23.5 billion - is held by the Paris Club.

Under the July agreement, the Paris Club decided to cancel $14.1 billion of that debt and reschedule the rest.

And at some point in the future, most of the rescheduled debt was likely to be cancelled as well.

Sudan piled up heavy foreign debts under Bashir, who was ousted in an April 2019 palace coup following mass protests.

But in order for the debt to be cancelled, Khartoum had to fulfil two conditions - clear its arrears with multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the African Development Bank, and implement "economic reforms showing the seriousness and rigour of the authorities," the French ministry said on Friday.

"France has supported the democratic transition process in Sudan since the beginning in 2019. In this context, it has been an unwavering partner of this country, in all areas of cooperation," the statement said.

"The Sudanese debt cancellation process was part of it."