A New Wind Blowing in Sudan

[Original by Ko IMANAKA, Sudan Project (October 1, 2019); Translated by Y. Nakamura/A. Taguchi]

As-salamu alaykum! My name is Imanaka. I am working as a resident staff in the JVC Sudan office. Sudan is now drastically changing, so I would like to report on its latest situation.

Sudan stepped in making democratic progress, as the Constitutional Declaration was signed by concerned parties with the mediation of Ethiopia and African Union (AU) in August 2019.

Citizens loudly cheering on the signing ceremony day, August 17, 2019.

The Sovereignty Council of Sudan consisting of six civilians and five military representatives was set up. Mr. Abdalla Hamdok was appointed as Prime Minister. He had long work experience in international institutions. For example, he was engaged as Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa until last year. People expect him to rebuild the Sudanese economy.

Newly assigned top leaders are typically criticized. However, I felt that the Sudanese citizens, regardless of sex or age, surely rely on and believe in his capabilities. I heard a taxi driver, UN office staff, and shop staff say, “He is one of the top seven experts in the international economic community.” “The new government is my only hope because the former one was corrupted.” “Everyone supports him, so Sudan is getting better from now on.” Additionally, four women were appointed as ministers for foreign affairs, education, and others. A new wind is blowing.

Mr. Hamdok, Prime Minister (on the left) and Ms. Asma Mohmed Abdalla, Minister of Foreign Affairs (on the right) at the UN’s General Assembly in New York. Prime Minister Hamdok is a specialist in economic management and comes from South Kordofan state where JVC is conducting activities.

Specifically, the prime minister put top priority on ceasing conflicts that continue in the Blue Nile, Darfur as well as in the South Kordofan state. The road map for peace was swiftly signed between the Sovereignty Council and a part of anti-government organizations in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, later in September. It was mediated by President Kiir of South Sudan. Its signatories included SPLM-N, the anti-government organization involved in conflicts in the South Kordofan state. The peace process will be completed in two months. If it goes well, the agreement for peace will be signed within 2019.

The new government drastically changed direction in diplomacy from the former one. It aimed to expand meetings with countries in Europe, America, and Africa in order to develop a good relationship with them. It also aimed to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism designated by the USA. Many Sudanese people expect that if Sudan is removed from the list, the restrictions on export and import will be relaxed, and it will lead to improving the Sudanese economy.

There are various positive speculations exchanged in SNS. For example, credit cards will be available, or a large food chain will open its shops. Even an article critical of the government was printed in newspapers. I really feel experiencing an unprecedented change.

On the other hand, problems on the shortage of bread, fuel, and others have not been solved yet. Customers waiting in long lines can still be seen in urban areas. Moreover, the situation of people living in Kadugli, JVC’s project site, has not been noticeably changed.

I would like to continue to watch the situation and conduct activities in order to let divided people live together again and rebuild their lives by themselves toward the agreement for peace in the immediate future.

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