The Arab British Chamber of Commerce hosted a briefing on doing business in Sudan on 1 March attended by executives from British companies keen on exploring the opportunities in the market. The gathering was addressed by H E Mr Michael Aron, the British Ambassador to Sudan and his Sudanese counterpart in London, H E Mr Mohamed Eltom.
The event coincided with the visit to the UK of a business delegation from Sudan, headed by the Ambassador H E Mr Aron, which included senior executives from the US Sudan Business Council.
Welcoming the ambassadors, visitors and delegates, Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, Secretary General & CEO, ABCC, described Sudan as “an emerging market with considerable natural resources and rich commercial potential”.
Dr Al-Shuaiby remarked that the conditions were becoming more favourable for the strengthening bilateral commercial relations and cooperation between the UK and Sudan. She alluded to some of the key sectors in Sudan which should interest British investors, namely education and training, mining, oil and gas, water management, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, construction and financial services.
Delivering a keynote briefing, H E Mr Aron emphasised that Sudan was opening up for trade and investment following an executive order taken in January by outgoing US President Obama to suspend economic sanctions on Sudan in place since 1997.
The “well-planned” decision to suspend sanctions had been taken following extensive discussions between the US and Sudan during 2015 and 2016. The Ambassador explained that sanctions would be formally lifted on 12 July and, he believed, the new Trump Administration would not seek to reintroduce them.
The briefing was also held in the context of the new UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue which was initiated by the two governments in March 2016. H E Mr Michael Aron expressed the belief that the UK and Sudan could build on their historic links and praised the cooperation between the UK embassy in Khartoum and the Sudan embassy in London.
H E Mohamed Eltom, the Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan in the UK, began by warmly thanking the ABCC for its consistently supportive role. He welcomed the members of the Sudan delegation who were present.
The Ambassador said the economic potential of Sudan had been underestimated. The investment climate had been impeded by conflict and politics, but there was now a new mood of national reconciliation which would soon be reflected in businesses taking a more positive look at the country.