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Sudan: Why and how France’s President Macron ‘cancelled’ $5bn in debt

By Alain Faujas, Joël Té-Léssia Assoko, Marie Toulemonde
Posted on Thursday, 20 May 2021 00:35

France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace on 16 November 2020. Francois Grivelet for Jeune Afrique

France is Sudan's second-largest creditor. The majority of Khartoum’s debts are due to late penalties, and Paris's debt forgiveness is part of Sudan's complex worldwide diplomatic and economic efforts.

Sudan’s prime minister Abdallah Hamdok was satisfied when he left the International Conference to Support the Sudanese Transition, which was held on 17 May in Paris. Not only did the former diplomat and senior official obtain a $1.5bn bridge loan from France, but France’s President Emmanuel Macron also announced that Sudan’s $5bn debt to France would be cancelled.

The French head of state reiterated that this conference, which he had promised 18 months ago, was intended to “mobilise the international community” in order to “allow the return to the family of nations” of a country whose youth had “spread a message of hope and courage” by overthrowing Omar al-Bashir’s dictatorial regime in 2019.

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