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Hub News Article Apr 22, 2015

The Sudan to Implement UNCTAD Recommendations

The effective implementation of the regulatory framework, local skills development and targeted investment promotion would help attract foreign investment to the Sudan to bolster economic growth and diversification, an UNCTAD-drafted Investment Policy Review (IPR) of the country has found.

The diversification of investment beyond oil-related activities is a key concern for the Sudan after the loss of a large number of oilfields following the secession of South Sudan in 2011. The Sudan has a significant but largely unexploited potential to attract foreign investors, notably due to ongoing internal conflicts.

Accordingly, the Sudanese government has introduced several policy initiatives to improve the investment environment, which have facilitated foreign direct investment (FDI). Ongoing development plans seek to highlight the country's potential in agriculture, tourism and mining, where FDI flows are still modest.

Recommendations made in the Sudan's IPR were highlighted at a peer-review presentation during the seventh session of the Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission of UNCTAD in Geneva on 21 April 2015.

Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Investment of the Sudan, who led a high-level delegation from the country at the meeting, welcomed the IPR, saying it would assist the government to harness FDI to address sustainable development concerns.

“We need to work together with UNCTAD to implement the recommendations of the IPR," Dr. Ismail said. "A workshop could be organized in Khartoum to identify the best ways to do it, with the experts from UNCTAD and from the region.”

The IPR aims to give guidance to the government on how to reach its objectives through investment, according to UNCTAD's Director of Investment and Enterprise James Zhan. Improvements to the legal and institutional framework, in particular, would help boost investment, he noted.

Other key policy gaps identified by the review included the need to clarify and streamline the establishment process for investment and access to land, while a measured review of the tax regime could bolster public revenue collection. Policy improvements were also recommended to operationalize environmental protection and the competition regime.

For the implementation of the IPR, technical assistance projects were crucial, according to Hanan Osman Mosnad of the National Investment Authority of the Sudan.

The presentation was well attended and many countries commended Sudan for the IPR, shared their own experiences with IPRs and expressed their appreciation to UNCTAD for its valuable work in this area.

UNCTAD IPRs are conducted at request and provide concrete and action-driven recommendations aimed at attracting higher levels of FDI to foster economic and social development in recipient countries. The programme spans several phases, commencing with the preparation of the report, followed by the implementation of the recommendations contained therein through technical assistance and follow up, and ultimately the conduct of an implementation review. The IPR of the Sudan, presented in draft version in Khartoum in November 2014, is the 39th IPR to be published by UNCTAD.