Global Insight : To promote the investment climate, the Sudanese government has established a number of regional agreements aimed at encouraging investment and creating trade opportunities with other nations. Please can you elaborate on your efforts to develop strong economic bilateral and multilateral relations?
The Ministry of Investment has signed 36 bilateral investment treaties. 19 of them are ratified and legally binding, while 17 are already signed but pending ratification. Sudan has also signed and ratified different regional agreements with Arabic countries to encourage investment. All this legal structure aims to put in place a legal framework and give credibility to the country for foreign investors.
GI : Can you give us some insight into Sudan’s competitive advantages and the profile of investors that you would like attract to the country?
Sudan has a unique location in Africa, connecting the continent to the Middle East. Its location on the Red Sea puts Sudan at the centre of international markets and makes the country a gateway for export and import. This has led Sudan to build and develop a sea port with all the necessary infrastructure and equipment to boost trade between countries. Moreover, Sudan is rich in natural resources and has untapped arable land for agricultural projects, as well as big deposits of minerals spread all over the country.
GI : Please comment on the need to communicate internationally about the opportunities that are arising in Sudan.
The Ministry of Investment has conducted a plan to communicate internationally by participating in international business forums and to showcase the investment opportunities in Sudan. We want to put in place a modern investment framework for international investors, and for that purpose we prepared several tools of communication, such as tailored promotion packages and a new website (www.minv.gov.sd) about successful projects in Sudan and with all the important information. Furthermore, we are in direct contact with regional and international organisations to enhance cooperation and improve communication about the developments in Sudan.
GI : A five-year economic plan aims to stabilise the economy of the country, in part by stimulating investment movement across the country. Please tell us about the main sectors and industries with the potential to generate job creation as part of a more inclusive economic growth.
Our strategy is to focus on agro-industry. We need to utilise the vast resources we have in agriculture that can give us a competitive advantage to develop locally and supply internationally. In the mining sector, the country has made important discoveries of gold, zinc, and iron. There are also great opportunities for investing in infrastructure, services and tourism projects for foreign investors. All these key areas will enhance economic growth and create new jobs for our people and will benefit investors.
GI : In your opinion, how can Foreign Direct Investment contribute to the development of the Republic of Sudan?
In order to encourage investment in Sudan, the government set up the 2013 investment act, an investment law that provides many incentives to foreign investors, such as acquiring land with nominal fees, full exemption on machinery and equipment, customs exemption, tax holidays, financial assistance and supervision from the presidency. We also work on facilitating visas and residence to foreign investors.
GI : Sudan suffers from the sanctions and restrictions imposed, and has become more isolated from the world’s financial system. Consequently, it is difficult for the country to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Nonetheless, foreign direct investment inflows have totalled $37 billion. What is the role of international media in changing Sudan’s image and promoting the country’s opportunities to attract foreign investors?
The Ministry of Investment gives high priority to the international economic concerns that international organisations have about Sudan. For instance, the Doing Business Report conclusions led the Ministry of Investment to formulate a top technical committee under the First Vice President to improve the rank of Sudan. The ministry conducted three years of entrepreneurship programmes in association with UNIDO.