Sudan plunges into recession
The Sudanese economy slumped into recession in 2018, strangled by soaring in ation, a currency shortage and the lingering impact of US sanctions. The economy likely contracted by 2.3% in 2018 and is forecast to shrink by a further 1.9% in 2019. This will be followed by two further years of recession with negative growth of 1.3% and 0.8% in 2020 and 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund. The multinational lender used its October 2018 outlook to scrub its previous fore- casts of growth of around 3% following the partial lifting of sanctions by the United States. Howev- er it has become clear that the continued status of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism is depriv- ing the beleaguered regime of liquidity. This compared with growth of 3.6% through to 2020 that the IMF had forecast a year ago. The IMF used its December 2017 annual assessment of the Suda- nese economy to encourage the authorities to continue to engage with international partners to secure comprehensive support for debt relief. It urged them to strengthen their cooperation with the Fund by making regular payments to the Fund at least su cient to cover obligations falling due and increasing them as Sudan’s payment capacity improved. Sudan is labouring under a four-decade long burden of unsustainable external debt. In nominal terms, it amounts to about $45bn or 79% of GDP, of which about 85% was in arrears. While the country is eligible for debt relief under the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries initiative, it must rst come to an amicable understand- ing with its main creditors in partnership with South Sudan, which has been hit by a major famine.