President Omar al-Bashir at the Merowe Dam in Sudan. This project will provide the largest source of electrical generation on the African continent., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
The Sudan Attracts Business and Investment
Sudan Vision Correspondent
One of the biggest body blows to the sanctions that are designed to stifle The Sudan’s development was the declaration of the Coalition government in the UK that “there are no British sanctions against the Sudan.”
Many businesses have hastened towards Khartoum in the last year; but now the floodgate will be opened. The Embassy of the Sudan was the venue on 30th May 2012 of a Middle East Association meeting ahead of the British Trade Mission is visit to the Sudan. (30th June-4th July 2012)
Against the background of a promotional documentary video film by Tariq Mohamed, the directors and leading members of British companies listened to Ambassador Abdallah Hamad Al Azreg, Deputy Head of Mission Mohamed Abdallah El Tom, Dr. Ronald Spires Director General of the Middle East Association, Simon Brown-Senior manager for the Middle East and West Africa at the UK Trade and Investment Organisation as well as businessman Sunil B. Vaghani the Managing Director of Mega Trading and Services Ltd.
Ambassador Al Azrag’s speech set the tone of a successful event with “informative sense of humour”. He told the 50 business people that the Sudan has a bad press and media coverage that is silent about its myriad advantages to investors. Western media does not mention that our women occupy top jobs in the judiciary, including one legal adviser to the President, or that they are Ministers, University Lecturers and all enjoy equal pay to men. Our women hold 25% of Parliament’s seats (more than the percentage of women in Westminster).
The Ambassador then said that he personally was not complaining about the rise of women because he has got five sisters and four daughters and is proud of them.
He went on to outline the ancient Nubian civilization, the Christian Heritage and Darfur and Funj Kingdoms. The Eastern Sudanese (called fuzzy wuzzy by R. Kipling) broke the British Square in battle; but the British are remembered with a great deal of goodwill.
They established the Gordon Memorial College (now the University of Khartoum) and many secondary schools and a pioneering Teachers’ Training Institute and left us a first class civil service.
Britain was the Sudan’s no.1 trading partner in all fields and the Sudanese government is keen to improve the present situation and promote English. Thousands of Sudanese have studied in the UK and more will come.
He continued to describe the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, the Mediterranean weather and fruits in Jebel Marra, the Dindir Park and the boom in construction in the cities.
He boasted that the Sudan was the safest country to visit – one British visitor told him “Khartoum is safer than London.”
The Ambassador said that people in the Sudan sleep in the forecourts of their homes in peace and told the businessmen that the British citizen David Wolton has written to his MP about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website’s “advice to visitors” on the website saying that it did not do the Sudan justice.
He did not shy away from overtly political statements, explaining the decentralised federal states, commitments to human rights and peace. He said “we are Muslims; but we are tolerant and pragmatic and stand against extremism. Our main party has got Christian members. He spoke about the freedom of the press and media and mobile phone coverage.
He advised them to taste real food in the Sudan (not processed food that has been kept in Fridges for ages before consumption). He made them laugh when he recommended camel milk (which is cholesterol free).
The Deputy Head of Mission gave a detailed power-point summary of investment opportunities, oil, agriculture as well as copper gold, silver, iron and other minerals are abundant. The British speakers praised the amended “investment Encouragement Act 2007) and advised all businessmen to do their homework, seek information either from the Embassy of Sudan or the Middle East Association and join the Khartoum visiting group.
On the 12th of June 2012 there will be a day for investment in Africa including the Sudan and businesses were invited to attend.
The 2-hour event was also a chance for networking and renewal of contacts. The highly successful event was supervised by the Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission with the help of embassy diplomats and staff.
Sudan army says 45 rebels killed
Sunday, June 03, 2012 08:36am
Sudan's army says it has killed 45 rebels who were looting in eastern Darfur, but the insurgents say they have seized an army compound.
A large force from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked Fataha, a trade crossroads in the eastern part of North Darfur state, Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad told AFP on Saturday.
'They looted the market and our troops responded. We killed 45 and destroyed 16 JEM vehicles,' he said, adding some soldiers were wounded.
'After that, they withdrew to the west and we are still following them.'
Casualty claims are impossible to verify from a region where access is restricted.
Earlier on Saturday, JEM spokesman Gibril Adam Bilal told AFP the rebels had seized an army compound east of the state capital El Fasher.
'Our forces are still inside the SAF compound,' he said, adding JEM killed an unknown number of soldiers and took 16 of their vehicles.
The state governor, Osman Kibir, said on state television that rebels 'are looting the shops, attacked civilians and took some food and fuel' from Fataha.
'They clashed with a small number of troops from SAF (the Sudanese Armed Forces),' he said.
In April, the head of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) expressed concern that the region's rebels were exploiting tensions between Sudan and South Sudan along their disputed frontier.
JEM and other Darfuri rebel factions belong to a 'Revolutionary Front' which aims to topple the regime in Khartoum.
Khartoum alleges that South Sudan backs JEM and other rebels. The Southern government denies that and accuses Sudan of supporting insurgents south of the border.
The UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have died as a result of the Darfur conflict, which began in 2003 when JEM and other rebels from non-Arab tribes in Sudan's far west rose up against the Khartoum regime.
In response, the government unleashed state-backed Janjaweed militia in a conflict that shocked the world and led to genocide allegations. Since then, much of the violence in the vast region has degenerated into banditry.
The Sudanese government puts the death toll at 10,000.
Almost two million people are still displaced.