Airport
Reuters in June reported that the port and free trade zone would be a $4 billion investment. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Khartoum: Sudan is seeking as much as $200 million in investment to revamp an airport in its capital and is also pressing ahead with talks with the UAE on a potential port project, its finance minister said.

Authorities are raising funds for the Khartoum airport “mainly from Sudanese sources,” although they’re open to foreign funding, Gibril Ibrahim said in an interview in Washington, where he was attending the International Monetary Fund fall meetings.

He also confirmed there was an agreement “in principle” for the UAE to build a port on the Red Sea and manage it for a certain period. “We need to agree on how long, how do we share the revenue,” he said.

Ibrahim gave no further details, including on the potential cost. Reuters in June reported that the port and free trade zone would be a $4 billion investment.

Sudan’s economy would benefit from such large-scale spending after a coup last year that ousted the civilian members of a power-sharing government spurred Western donors to suspend aid, contributing to a funding crisis. The IMF forecasts Sudanese real gross domestic product will contract 0.3 per cent this year, before expanding 2.6 per cent in 2023.

“Food security is an issue because of hikes of oil prices, fertilizers and wheat,” said Ibrahim, a former rebel leader brought into government after a peace deal who retained his ministerial role post-coup.

He also hailed “new momentum” in talks between Sudan’s political factions to agree on a new civilian-led government. A deal that sees the army surrender some of its powers will likely meet the conditions of former donors in the US and Europe to restore assistance, Ibrahim said.