French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he gives a statement after his lunch meeting with Argentina's President, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on May 12, 2021. AFP
France will lend Sudan $1.5 billion to help the African nation pay off its massive debt to the International Monetary Fund as it emerges from decades of authoritarian rule, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday.
"President Macron will confirm later today that France will provide the $1.5 billion bridge loan to clear Sudan's arrears to the IMF," Le Maire said at the opening of an international conference aimed at helping Sudan in its transition to democratic government.
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is attending the Paris conference, seeking help in paying off a $60 billion foreign debt bill and also hoping to secure investment deals.
Hamdok is pushing to rebuild and reform a crippled economy and end Sudan's international isolation under former president Omar al-Bashir, whose three decades of rule were marked by economic hardship and international sanctions.
"Re-building an attractive and resilient market takes time, but today, I hope we will convince private investors that the fundamentals for business are fully there," Le Maire said.
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron will join Hamdok and other African leaders for an economic summit for the continent, hoping to fill a financing shortfall of nearly $300 billion caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.