Washington, DC – December 14, 2017 Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led an historic trade mission to Khartoum, Sudan on December 3-7, 2017. This first trade mission to Sudan – less than two months after the U.S. government lifted economic sanctions in place for over 20 years – afforded U.S. companies an up close and hands on experience in Sudan to gain a deeper understanding of Sudan’s current investment climate and business opportunities.
CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser and the Director for Investment and Infrastructure, Mr. Biova Kabine, led the trade mission to Sudan. The 21-person delegation of CCA member and other companies represented sectors from infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, health and medical supplies, and financial services. Participating companies included A&A Consultants, Inc, ACROW Bridge, All American Logistics, Caterpillar, Diamond Fields International, General Electric, Shell, The Boeing Company, Trade and Development Bank, US Best Medical, Varian Medical Systems and Visa. The trade mission was sponsored by Sudatel and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).
“We received a very warm welcome in Sudan, and we came away with the knowledge that the government and people of Sudan are eager and ready to engage with U.S. businesses” said Ms. Liser. “I am grateful to the major sponsors of the trade mission (including Sudatel and the Trade and Development Bank), the Sudanese Government, the U.S. State Department and embassy in Khartoum, and to the participating companies and trade mission delegates, who made this historic trade mission a reality.”
The delegation was welcomed by senior Sudanese government officials, including meetings with Sudan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh as well as its Foreign Affairs Minister, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulaziz Ghandour; and also explored investment opportunities and networked with key business leaders in a market that had been closed off to U.S. investors due to the sanctions.
The delegation started its meetings with a briefing by the U.S. Embassy Khartoum’s Country Team as well as one by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) country representatives which provided companies with an overview of the political and economic environment in Sudan as well as forecasts for Sudan’s economic growth and business prospects. TDB President Admassu Tadesse provided valuable information to the delegates on how TDB can provide financing for projects, serving as a bridge mechanism while commercial banks are still considering when and how to move into the promising Sudanese market.
The trade mission featured a high-level business-to-government forum during which detailed presentations on various Sudanese sectors provided attending U.S. companies with the kinds of in-depth information needed to inform their business decisions. The forum was opened by H.E. Mubarak al Fadil al Mahdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment. The Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Othman Al-Rikabi; Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Abdulatif Ahmed Mohamed Al Igeimi; Petroleum and Gas, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Osman Abdulrahman; Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, H.E. Mutz Mousa Abdalla Salim; Transport, Roads and Bridges, H.E. Engineer Makawi Mohamed Awad; Health, H.E. Bahar Idris Abu Garda Abulgasim; Minerals, H.E. Professor Hashim Ali Mohamed Salim; and Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development, H.E. Dr. Hassan Abdulgadir Hilal were also in attendance. CCA trade mission delegates then had the opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with some ministers.
The delegation continued the mission with business-to-business meetings with more than fifty company representatives that are members of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation and the U.S. Sudan Business Council. In a briefing by the Sudanese Central Bank, the Sudanese Bankers Association, and the Bank of Khartoum, the delegation heard from senior executives about the Sudanese financial services sector and discussed both the challenges and opportunities related to bank financing of business ventures and projects in Sudan.
The delegation also did several site visits including one to Sudatel’s Data Center – one of only two such centers in the region; and another to DAL Group facilities, which highlighted this premier Sudanese multinational’s multiple business lines and allowed the delegates to visit the DAL Milk Factory and its modern dairy farm.
Due to the trade mission, several delegates have identified new business opportunities and potential local partners, collected key market data and made substantial progress on large transactions.