Press Release No. 13/404
October 12, 2013
On October 9th, the IMF and World Bank staff co-chaired the 7th meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Sudan's external debt on the sidelines of the 2013 IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings. Delegations from the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan and President Mbeki, Chair of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), President Mbeki, attended, in addition to the official bilateral and multilateral creditors.
Participants to the TWG were encouraged by the recent progress in implementing the provisions of the 2012 Bilateral Cooperation Agreement. They welcomed progress made by Sudan, including the recent implementation of difficult reform measures that could form the basis of a successor SMP, and the adoption of an I-PRSP. They also called on Sudan to maintain the reform momentum, continue the technical work, including the establishment of a track record of policy reforms with the IMF and stepped up outreach efforts towards creditors. They also underscored the importance of handling the "zero option" in a flexible way.
TWG participants welcomed the creation of the Tripartite Committee (Sudan/South Sudan/African Union) as a platform to strengthen relations between the two countries and coordinate outreach efforts towards creditors. In this context, President Mbeki emphasized "the importance of the platform to ensure an environment that is conducive to peaceful relations between these two countries and move forward the debt relief process."
In its concluding remarks, Ms. Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Sudan and South Sudan noted that "providing the necessary debt relief to reduce Sudan's external debt burden to a sustainable level is critical to supporting economic development in both Sudan and South Sudan". Noting that significant progress was made in the technical area in support of debt relief, she called on both governments to intensify their outreach to Sudan's creditors.
For his part, Mr. Edward Gemayel, the IMF's Mission Chief for Sudan noted that "Sudan has a long track record of implementing sustainable economic policies", and added "that a successor SMP supporting an appropriate policy framework would help Sudan establish a sound track record of performance in the period through the Decision Point that would one crucial element in gaining creditors support for the debt relief process."