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The countdown has begun as on 12 July, the Trump administration will decide whether or not it will eliminate economic and financial sanctions on Sudan for the first time in its 20-year bloody history
It will be a historical moment as it will mean investors will be keen to take advantage of Sudan's rich oil and gold resource base like never before. There are already oil companies from the Middle East, the United States and Europe uniquely positioning themselves for the years ahead.
Speaking exclusively to African Review ahead of the FDI in Sudan consultation meeting in London next week, Osama Faisal, minister of investment, said if sanctions are lifted in July, investment opportunities will increase across all industries; in the mining, power and oil sectors [there is still 1.5bn barrels of oil reserves available], as well as in the food and pharmaceutical sectors. There is also massive potential to develop renewable energy like solar and wind to support the economic growth of the country.
He said, "It is not just a 'win win' situation for Sudan but for the whole world. The US sanctions were affecting all the other countries. In my opinion, one of the reasons for the sanctions to be lifted from Sudan, is that some of the companies started rebelling against the sanctions."
He cited Siemens as an example of a company which closed their offices 12 years ago in Sudan because it did not want to comprise their business with the US. But the German company was keen to do business again in Sudan and agreed last year with the government-owned Sudanese Thermal Power Generating Company to supply five power plant units.
Sudan lost most of its oil reserves after the secession of the south in 2011, but it forced the republic to diversify into other sectors like mining, which the minister described as a 'big renaissance for Sudan'. The country is now expecting to be the eighth biggest producer of gold in three years time, he said.
"Luckily, most of our resources remain untapped despite the war and the situation has calmed down in Darfur, attracting investors in Sudan in the future. I'm working with the private sector in the UK and US to make sure the sanctions are lifted, and I am optimistic that things are going in the right direction," he added.
The lifting of sanctions in July with the US will depend on the Sudanese government proving that it has taken action towards ending armed conflict, has improved humanitarian access and cooperated in the fight against terrorism. The economic, trade and financial sanctions were imposed on Sudan in the nineties after the country was designated a state sponsor of terrorism.