Sudan: Abdalla Hamdok, a consensus economist as prime minister - RFI
Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, 61, was sworn in on Wednesday (August 21st). He will have to face a very difficult economic situation
By RFIPalled on 22-08-2019Modified on 22-08-2019 at 01:36
Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, 61, was sworn in on Wednesday (August 21st). He will have to face a very difficult economic situation.
Born with the independence of Sudan in 1956 in Southern Kordofan, Abdalla Hamdok began his university studies in economics in Khartoum in the 1970s. At that time, it was still Omdurman radio that announced the names of the candidates admitted to university. This is where he begins his political activities. He is close to the Communists, very active and very committed to the left without wanting to become a leader. He prefers to concentrate on his studies.
In 1987, he joined the Ministry of Agriculture. Then gets a scholarship from the British Cultural Center for studies in Manchester. But before finishing his doctorate, Khartoum in 1990 means that he will lose his position in the ministry.
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This is the beginning of an African career in the field of economics and finance outside Sudan. Abdalla Hamdok becomes Zimbabwe advisor for the International Labor Organization, a UN agency. Then he stays four years at the African Development Bank in Ivory Coast. He then moved to Addis Ababa, where he befriended then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He becomes chief advisor at the Bank of Commerce and Development in the Ethiopian capital. Then in 2016 he takes the post of Secretary-General of the UN Economic and Social Council.
In 2018, he declined an invitation for the post of finance minister in Sudan. In his letter of refusal, he had promised to put himself at the service of his country as soon as the conditions were met. Less than a year later, here he is Prime Minister.
He becomes the first person in charge of a civilian power since Omar el-Bashir came to power in 1993. Abdalla Hamdok will have to appoint a government and lead the country for 39 months. A difficult and complex mission awaits this team: reforming the country, rebuilding the economy and making peace in regions that have experienced conflict.
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Redressing a dry economy
Because if the economic situation at the time of the fall of Omar al-Bashir was not very good, it has not improved since. Inflation is approaching 50%. In front of bakeries and gas stations, a witness describes endless queues, a consequence of the shortage of flour and fuel.
Yet Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are delivering oil and 540,000 tonnes of wheat. These deliveries are part of a $ 3 billion aid package announced by these two countries to help Sudan through a difficult past.
The value of the Sudanese currency has not stopped losing value against the dollar. Since last October, the Sudanese pound has lost 70% of its purchasing power.
Under these conditions, it is impossible to lower inflation and difficult to obtain on international markets. The rural sector suffers the direct impact: no fertilizer, no fuel for agricultural machinery and therefore very low yields in prospect. Not enough to fill the coffers of the state, let alone repay the country's external debt of $ 54 billion.
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