Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, begins a two-day visit to Kuwait in the hopes of achieving a substantial increase in Kuwaiti investments in the East African State, the Sudan News agency confirmed.
Al-Bashir is being accompanied by four prominent Sudanese officials including the ministers of finance, foreign affairs and water resources and electrical Dams. Kuwait is the third biggest investor in Sudan ($5 billion) behind the United Arab Emirates ($6 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($10 billion) but is poised to increase its investment in Sudanese industries including agriculture.
During his visit Al-Bashir is due to meet Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmed Jabir Al-Sabah, to review current investment projects, such as those in Eastern Sudan. The gulf state was instrumental in providing the project funding which helped deliver the economic conditions in the region and brokered a peace deal in with the Beja and Rashaida tribes in October 2006.
Addressing the food gap
Kuwait has also contributed to the construction of the Merowe, Atbara River Setit dams as well as the heightening of the Roseriris Dam in the Blue Nile state. Agriculture investment agreements are also expected to be discussed by the two nations as the Arab world tries to address the food gap currently standing at a deficit of $40-45 billion annually.
Analysts say with the required investment, Sudan is well placed to plug the gap with its 175 million acres of arable land, 52 million acres of forest and 102 million heads of livestock in addition to the 400 billion cubic feet of rainfall on average every year.
According to the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Khartoum, Bassam Al-Qabani, the visit is important and “historic” for both countries and builds on the traditionally close ties. The ambassador said Kuwait was one of the first countries ever to invest in Sudan providing it with a loan in 1962 to establish the country’s railway network.
Al-Bashir is expected to head to Saudi Arabia on Thursday.