Su­dan re­ceives first US dol­lar trans­fers since sanc­tions lifted


KHAR­TOUM: Su­dan’s cen­tral bank said Wednesday it had re­ceived its first over­seas fund trans­fer in US dol­lars since Washington an­nounced the lift­ing of a 20-year-old trade em­bargo against Khar­toum.

Washington last week an­nounced the lift­ing of sanc­tions from this Thursday on­ward, say­ing Khar­toum had made progress on con­di­tions set for end­ing the em­bargo, in place since 1997.

“The trans­fer­ring of Amer­i­can dol­lars has com­menced after the lift­ing of sanc­tions,” Su­dan’s of­fi­cial news agency SUNA said, quot­ing a state­ment from the Cen­tral Bank of Su­dan.

“Yes­ter­day, two Su­danese banks re­ceived over­seas money trans­fers in US dol­lars, one from Amer­ica and an­other from Europe,” it said, with­out spec­i­fy­ing the amounts or the banks’ names.

Washington had im­posed sanc­tions two decades ago over Khar­toum’s al­leged sup­port for mil­i­tant groups. It had slapped re­stric­tions on in­ter­na­tional bank­ing trans­ac­tions and ex­change of tech­nol­ogy and spare parts, along with other trade bar­ri­ers.

Su­dan’s econ­omy also suf­fered a body blow when the south split from the north in 2011 after a bitter civil war, tak­ing with it the bulk of the coun­try’s oil rev­enues.

Su­dan’s cur­rency has been volatile on the black market since Washington’s an­nounce­ment.

Pre­vi­ously val­ued at 21.50 to the dol­lar, the Su­danese pound strength­ened to 18.50 in the af­ter­math of Washington’s an­nounce­ment.

It was trad­ing at 20 to the dol­lar on Wednesday.

“The news that Su­danese banks have re­ceived US dol­lar trans­fers has not im­pacted the cur­rency market so far,” a forex trader said.

Su­dan’s cen­tral bank has kept the pound’s of­fi­cial rate at 6.7 to the dol­lar, but the cur­rency had slumped sig­nif­i­cantly on the black market in re­cent months.

The weak­en­ing of the pound has bumped in­fla­tion up to around 35 per­cent.

Washington last week said Khar­toum had made progress on main­tain­ing a ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties in con­flict ar­eas, giv­ing aid work­ers ac­cess to such zones and co­op­er­at­ing with US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies to fight “ter­ror­ism.”

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