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EXCLUSIVE UAE to construct Crimson Sea port in Sudan in $6 billion funding package deal

A person stands reverse the trendy port on the harbour in Port Sudan at Crimson Sea State February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

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CAIRO, June 20 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates will construct a brand new Crimson Sea port in Sudan as a part of a $6 billion funding package deal, DAL group chairman Osama Daoud Abdellatif, a companion within the deal, informed Reuters.

Abdellatif mentioned the package deal features a free commerce zone, a big agricultural venture and an imminent $300 million deposit to Sudan’s central financial institution, which might be the primary such deposit since an October navy takeover.

Western donors suspended billions in assist and funding to Sudan after the coup, plunging an financial system that was already struggling into additional turmoil and depriving the federal government of a lot wanted overseas forex.

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Ibrahim informed Reuters on Wednesday {that a} memorandum of understanding had been signed with the UAE for a port and agricultural venture, however the particulars haven’t beforehand been reported.

The finance ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon particulars of the deal.

The $4 billion port, a joint venture between DAL group and Abu Dhabi Ports, owned by Abu Dhabi’s holding firm ADQ, would have the ability to deal with all types of commodities and compete with the nation’s fundamental nationwide port, Port Sudan, Abdellatif mentioned.

Situated about 200 km (124 miles) north of Port Sudan, it could additionally embody a free commerce and industrial zone modelled after Dubai’s Jebel Ali, in addition to a small worldwide airport, he mentioned. The venture is in “superior levels,” with research and designs full, he mentioned.

Rumours of Gulf investments in Port Sudan, and in agricultural tasks elsewhere within the nation, have up to now stirred opposition and typically protests.

Port Sudan has lengthy been plagued with infrastructure challenges and was shut by a political blockade for six weeks late final 12 months, dropping enterprise from main worldwide shippers.

The UAE deal additionally contains the $1.6 billion enlargement and growth of an agricultural venture by Abu Dhabi conglomerate IHC and DAL Agriculture within the city of Abu Hamad in northern Sudan, Abdellatif mentioned.

Alfalfa, wheat, cotton, sesame, and different crops can be grown and processed on the 400,000 acres of leased land, he mentioned. A $450 million, 500 km (310 mile) toll highway connecting the venture to the port can be constructed as properly, financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Improvement.

Below the settlement, the Fund would additionally make a deposit of $300 million to the Central Financial institution of Sudan, Abdellatif mentioned.

Abdellatif mentioned the settlement was reached initially in July 2021, underneath a civilian-led transitional authorities.

Two sources from the previous cupboard, who requested to not be named, mentioned a unique model of the deal had been reviewed final 12 months however finally didn’t transfer to a vote on account of reservations.

Two high-level present Sudanese officers informed Reuters the outlines of the brand new deal had been agreed between Sudanese chief Normal Abdelfattah al-Burhan and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed throughout a latest go to to the Gulf state.

A consultant for Abu Dhabi Ports mentioned the corporate had no remark, whereas representatives for ADQ, the Abu Dhabi Fund, IHC, and the Abu Dhabi and UAE governments didn’t instantly reply to requests.

“Ourselves and our companions within the UAE, we’ve got already invested in a financial institution, a resort, mining,” mentioned Abdellatif, whose conglomerate has additionally bid for management of one among Sudan’s largest telecom firms, Zain Sudan. learn extra

“The UAE desires a secure Sudan to allow them to do increasingly of those investments, however we’re not ready for the whole lot to be good,” he added.

After the navy ousted Omar al-Bashir in 2019 following common protests, the UAE and Saudi Arabia pledged a mixed $3 billion in grants and in-kind assist to Sudan, which navy and civilian leaders say was not delivered in full.

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Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir and Khalid Abdelaziz; Further reporting by Yousef Saba in Dubai, Modifying by Aidan Lewis, William Maclean and Richard Pullin

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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