African Press International (API)

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Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

5 December 2013:

 

Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan, an extraordinarily misguided action, the more so since Sudan was the only country favored by such relief.  The decision is bad for many reasons, but most conspicuously because of the encouragement it gives the present regime in Khartoum to believe that other nations and institutions will offer similar relief; indeed, according to some observers this was the thinking on the part of some in the Dutch parliament.  The amount to be forgiven is relatively small— €150 million or about $US200 million—given the massive debt that has accrued largely under the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime: some $45 billion, according to the IMF.  Debt was only a fraction of this before the military coup that brought the NIF/NCP to power in 1989.  And despite gross mismanagement of the economy, the regime now believes there is hope it will be given a lifeline by which to survive current civil unrest in the country.

Let’s be clear: There is simply no country in the world less deserving of debt relief than Sudan—not one.  Coincidentally, two days earlier, Transparency International released the results of its Global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2013.  Sudan ranked at 174 out of 177 countries surveyed, with only Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia faring worse in the Index.  Moreover, Sudan’s score actually declined this past year; there is absolutely no sign of improvement.  This is important because many of the reasons for Sudan’s external indebtedness derive from corruption, which takes various forms: the vast system of cronyism that provides political support to the regime; the illegal appropriation and sale of valuable farmland to foreign companies; the impunity afforded to the security services in extortion and asset-stripping of humanitarian organizations and “non-Arab” Sudanese; and the monumental graft that has defined the regime for more than two decades—all of these have compelled unneeded or misdirected borrowing…. [ English original continued at http://wp.me/p45rOG-19R]

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