Sudan signs deal with World Food Programme to import wheat

Sudan signs deal with World Food Programme to import wheat
The new deal will see Sudan buy and import 200,000 tonnes of wheat from the UN's food agency.
2 min read
14 April, 2020
Sudan was rocked by protests in 2019 over bread prices [Getty/ Archive]

Sudan inked a deal on Monday with the United Nations World Food Programme to import wheat, state media reported, more than a year after the country was rocked by protests sparked by bread price hikes.

"The finance ministry signed today (Monday) a deal with the World Food Programme (WFP) to buy and import 200,000 tonnes of wheat," official news agency SUNA reported. 

The northeast African country consumes two million tonnes of wheat annually, according to official figures, relying heavily on imports.

A tripling of the price of bread was the trigger for street protests against autocrat Omar al-Bashir in December 2018 -- demonstrations that went on for months until the army deposed the longtime ruler on April 11, 2019.

Since August last year a transitional government has taken over the reins of power, but Sudan's economy remains in deep crisis.

Soaring inflation, scarcity of foreign currency and a huge public debt are among the country's most pressing challenges.

Many in Sudan still have to queue for hours to buy bread.

Last week, Sudanese authorities announced an increase in bread prices, meaning one Sudanese pound now buys only a 50-gram loaf of bread, compared to 70 grams previously.

In its deal with the WFP, Sudan's government will pay for the wheat in Sudanese pounds, WFP country director Hameed Nuru said, according to SUNA

"The deal will allow the central bank to keep more than $50 million in foreign currency and to fix the exchange rate," he said.

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