World Bank Orders Halt In Sudan Operations

( Last Wednesday, the World Bank halted disbursements for operations in Sudan in response to the military takeover of the government. Meanwhile, state oil company workers, doctors, and pilots joined with civilian groups in opposing the takeover.

Since Monday’s coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, thousands have taken to the streets and several have been killed in clashes with security forces.

General Burhan dismissed the joint civilian/military council that was set up to move Sudan to democratic elections after the April 2019 popular uprising that ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Burhan claimed the council’s dismissal was to stop the country from slipping into civil war. But the decision by the World Bank to pause payments and stop processing new operations is a setback to Burhan’s plans for Sudan.

Sudan was isolated from the international financing system throughout the three decades of Bashir’s rule. However, in March, Sudan achieved full re-engagement with the bank and gained access to $2 billion in financing.

Abdalla Hamdok, prime minister from the deposed transitional government, had previously touted Sudan’s re-engagement with the World Bank as a major accomplishment and was relying on that funding for several large development projects.

In a statement from Washington, World Bank President David Malpass expressed concern over the recent events in Sudan and the dramatic impact the coup will have on the country’s social and economic development.

The Sudanese government had instituted harsh economic reforms that achieved rapid arrears clearance and debt relief and renewed financing from both the World Bank and IMF.

In light of last week’s coup, an IMF spokeswoman said the fund was monitoring developments but said it was “premature” to comment.

According to the UN mission in Sudan, deposed Prime Minister Hamdok was detained on Monday and is under guard at his home. He has since been visited by envoys from France, Germany, Norway, the UK, the EU, the United States, and the United Nations. Western nations have called for the restoration of the joint civilian/military council and the release of the detained civilian leaders.