KHARTOUM: Sudan will host a business conference with German firms to boost economic ties with Europe’s largest economy, state media said on Sunday, the second such event between Berlin and the isolated African country this year.
Sudan is trying to attract more investment to overcome an economic crisis after losing most oil reserves with South Sudan’s secession in 2011. Most Western firms shun the country due to a U.S. trade embargo over Sudan’s human rights record.
The Khartoum conference, from Oct. 28 to 31, is likely to irk human rights activists who criticized Berlin for inviting top Sudanese officials to a similar forum in January.
The Berlin event had been open to South Sudan, but Juba only sent its ambassador in Berlin to avoid contact with arch foe Sudan at time of bilateral tensions, diplomats said. Sudan had sent a high-level delegation to Berlin.
The conference is organized by German and Sudanese business groups with support from both governments, according to the German-African Business Association.
While foreign investors in Sudan often complain of a massive dollar scarcity and shrinking state infrastructure projects, the Berlin-based association painted a much brighter picture.
“Sudan’s economic perspectives have developed positively recently. … The economy has been recovering since southern secession,” the German-African Business Association said on its website. It cited opportunities for German firms as Sudan planned to expand its oil, gas and mining sectors.
Most Western countries have only limited ties to Sudan. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir faces charges of war crimes in Darfur at the International Criminal Court.