Qatar pledges $1bn in aid to Sudan in sign of deepening ties

Sudan

UNAMID

Sudan’s central bank will receive a $1 billion deposit from Qatar as part of an aid package the two countries had previously agreed on, a senior Sudanese official has said.

The money was announced by Finance Minister Badr El-Din Mahmoud at the end of a one-day visit to Khartoum by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, earlier this week. Mahmoud also said that Qatar would be investing in the African country’s energy and agriculture industries, Reuters reports.

According to the Sudan Tribune:

“Sudan has been struggling with what was described as an economic shock following the loss of the oil-rich south in July 2011. Oil revenues constituted the majority of Sudan’s exports, national income and source of hard currency.”

Qatar has long held a friendly relationship with the Sudanese government, which has become increasingly isolated from other governments due to wide scale human rights abuses there.

Implications

Qatar did not publicly comment on the new aid, but analysts said that the funds could worsen Doha’s ties with Egypt.

AFP quotes Safwat Fanous, a political scientist at the University of Khartoum, as saying the Sudanese government is essentially supported by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar’s ties to that group has been a source of tension between Doha and its Gulf neighbors. Last month, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, saying they were worried about their internal security and stability.

This was thought to be a dig at Qatar’s independent foreign policy, which included support for the Brotherhood-backed former president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi.

He was overthrown last year, and the new military government has designated the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia has since followed suit.

The Emir also visited Algeria and Tunisia this week, and returned home today, according to QNA.

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About Shabina S. Khatri

Shabina S. Khatri is the editor of Doha News. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, has previously taught at NU-Q, and worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.

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