EU Development Strategy on Sudan 2016/ 2017
Category: Business

EU Development Strategy on Sudan 2016/ 2017

(Mohamed Abdalla- Najat Ahmed)

EU has adopted a new policy to deal with Sudan in term of development issues; the new strategy has been designed following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, it is EU vision to Sudan political, economic and security developments, Sudan government has achieved progress in the a above mentioned aspects and has its own assessment, but the government agree to cooperate with EU to combat the roots of poverty, migration and peace.
“This is the first development strategy that the EU has prepared for Sudan since April 2011. Since then, much has happened. South Sudan declared its independence on 9 July 2011; this represented a huge political and economic shock for Sudan which lost 10 million inhabitants, 30% of its territory and 75% of its oil revenues. Secession was followed by a period of heightened tensions between Sudan and South Sudan over a number of outstanding issues such as border demarcation, disputed territories or economic arrangements and compensations. As a result, the EU focused on defining its policy in relation to both countries with the aim of diffusing those tensions.
However, since 2013 the EU has increasingly looked at Sudan in its own right, and has developed a policy that reflects Sudan’s own internal political, security and socio-economic challenges, as well as its position and role within the region and beyond. This development strategy looks at Sudan’s socio-economic challenges from a political and security perspective. To that end, it has followed a two-step approach: first, by conducting a conflict analysis jointly with EU Member States, international partners and civil society to gain a shared understanding of Sudan’s various conflict and political dynamics, as well as future trajectories; second, by conducting a rapid needs assessment with EU
Member States, which identifies in more detail challenges, needs and opportunities for intervention in a number of sectors. The focus is in areas where the EU or EU Member States and/or both are considered to have a comparative advantage which crucially include addressing some of the underlying governance and conflict issues”.
The studies and the analysis aimed at finding good way to support Sudan financially and enable it to overcome development challenges. “the objectives and indicative interventions set out in this strategy are intended to guide the implementation of future European Development Fund financing from the reserve of the 11th EDF for the period from 2016 to 2017 as well as to provide orientations to the EU and the EU Member States on how to better join efforts in order to address more effectively their development cooperation with Sudan. Due to no ratification of the revisions of the Continuo Agreement dated 2005 and 2010, Sudan lost access to programmable bilateral funding under the 10th and 11th EDF. However, it can still benefit from EDF financing originating either from the reserve of the 11th EDF or from regional indicative programmes. In line with the conclusions of the conflict analysis, it is important to underline that sustainable poverty reduction in Sudan can only take place once substantial progress towards an inclusive political settlement, improved governance and effective conflict resolution has been achieved. Inclusive National Dialogue is central to addressing underlying causes of conflict, in particular exclusion and the vicious circle of the use of violence to bring about change which exists in the country especially in the peripheral areas. Whilst the operating environment in Sudan is challenging from an access and security point of view, the proposed strategy will target directly the beneficiary population through direct implementation of actors so as to ensure accountability, impact and quality of actions foreseen. Drawing on past development interventions, the strategy aims at strengthening the resilience of the people in peripheral areas with a specific focus on upstream prevention but also where possible in areas affected by ongoing violence; in doing so it should contribute to tackling marginalization and exclusion that are at the root of conflict”.
Therefore, this strategy establishes important links with EU recent priorities for the region such as the Commission’s new Agenda for Migration and the Support to Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE), the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative or "Khartoum process", or the Action Plan approved at the EU-Africa Valletta Summit on migration on 11 and 12 November 2015, all of which will be implemented inter alia by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa). EU engagement with Sudan also has to be seen in the context of the recently approved EU Regional Action Plan on the Horn of Africa (October 2015), which focuses in particular on migration and forced displacement as well as violent extremism and implications of the broader geopolitical framework. This Action Plan provides the EU's strategic direction for our activities in 2015-20. A particular focus of the Action Plan is Peace and Security and addressing continuous conflict situations such as Sudan.
Contextual analysis
Country context Sudan remains mired in internal conflicts. It faces popular unrest challenging the increasingly authoritarian regime and a largely dire economic and financial state. The Presidential and Legislative elections of April 2015 have re-confirmed President Bashir's mandate, but have taken place in a politically restricted environment, boycotted by the main opposition parties. They were preceded by a lack of progress of the National Dialogue which did not take off despite much rhetoric from the Government and Opposition, involvement of the African Union and encouragement from the broader international community. A deep mistrust between the parties contributed to the failure, preventing confidence-building and inclusion. It is hard to predict what trajectory the Government of Sudan and Opposition will take regarding the National Dialogue, but the November 2014 conflict analysis concluded that the most plausible scenario for Sudan could be described as "muddling through", with a deteriorating trajectory characterized by political exclusion, restricted freedoms and inequitable allocation of resources. This could lead to greater social unrest and a higher propensity for violence. Indeed, the current political, security and socio-economic dynamics do not seem to suggest that we will see substantial improvements in the near future:
Conflict remains entrenched in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (with displacement, restricted humanitarian access, violence against civilians and sexual and gender-based violence being among the major concerns), and peace is fragile in the East. At a local level conflict dynamics are manifold but there are some common causes of conflict which include political and socio-economic exclusion by a central elite, exploitation of extractive resources, and inter-communal clashes caused by competition over land and other natural resources exacerbated by environmental and climatic factors. The Government of Sudan uses divide and rule tactics, and military means for the enforcement of its interests. The mandate of the hybrid AU-UN Mission for Sudan UNAMID has been extended until 2016, but it is likely that the Government will continue to push for its early exit.
The federal system and decentralized governance have been weak: those living in peripheral regions not only are excluded from public life, but also suffer from a state which does not adequately provide basic public services. As a result, the social contract between the state and the majority of its people is broken. There is not adequate accountability and the related institutions are kept deliberately weak. Resources are used to maintain the security apparatus and hence perpetuate the rule of the NCP. This leads to the mismanagement of public resources and high levels of corruption to sustain patronage networks and buy political support. Human rights and basic freedoms suffer from serious restrictions. Until governance improves and resources are distributed in a more equitable manner, a sustainable resolution of violent conflict is unlikely to be achieved. The economic situation is generally weak but has shown a certain level of resilience following the loss of oil revenues after the secession of South Sudan, failing austerity measures with lack of production and a low external investment. Sudan is now reliant on agriculture, gold mining (mainly artisanal), as well as oil production sufficient for domestic consumption (except diesel which is still imported), revenues from South Sudan for the use of the oil pipeline and export, arms exports, remittances from a large Diaspora in the Middle East, and a small manufacturing sector. However, the model adopted to diversify the economy does not seem sustainable, especially in the extractive sectors, with little consideration for land tenure, community rights, environmental considerations and inclusivity. The situation is compounded by high expenditure on security and wars as well as economic and financial (US) sanctions against Sudan, and an unsustainable external debt of over $45 billion (which in September 2016 will be halved unless Sudan and South Sudan agree on another extension of the deadline). These factors can only be alleviated in case of political reforms, an end to armed conflict and improved relations with the International Community. The Government has adopted a number of policies to reduce poverty such as an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy, but they do not amount to a commitment to poverty reduction in the absence of allocation of resources for their implementation. One positive step is the re-engagement of the Government with the International Monetary Fund through a Staff Monitored Programme to provide advice on reforms needed to move towards macro-economic stability and more inclusive growth. The operational development/humanitarian context is being seriously affected by constraints on international agencies and NGOs to work in areas of need, as well as the past incidents and the threat of expulsion of NGOs both on the humanitarian and development side (2009 and 2012). Additional constraints include the government strategy of "Sudanization" of the delivery of aid, the push for exit of UNAMID in Darfur and the administrative difficulties orchestrated to impede the international donors and their implementing partners (INGOs and IOs) to access their project areas.