For Intisar Altayib, who ekes out a living drawing henna tattoos in Khartoum, soaring prices in Sudan mean running up tabs at local stores and cutting back on evening feasts during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

She is one of millions struggling through an economic crisis that has deepened as Sudan tries to emerge from decades of isolation and conflict. Inflation has risen to more than 340% and there are shortages of everything from power to medicines.

To ease the pain of reforms the government, in coordination with the World Bank, is introducing additional financing of $210 million in International Development Association Pre-arrears Clearance Grant and $210 million in donor contributions for the second phase of the Sudan Family Support Program (SFSP), the Thamarat Program.

“We are very pleased to continue our working partnership with the government of Sudan in its efforts to effectively support Sudanese families. The government has demonstrated its commitment to make this program a success by mobilizing all resources available. This additional financing reaffirms the World Bank’s pledge to continue supporting the government’s commendable economic reform efforts to stabilize the economy and to re-engage with the international community.”
Ousmane Dione
World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan

Specifically, the program will provide five U.S. dollars to each qualified person in a household initially for a period of six months. Subject to funding availability, the transfers will be ramped up to twelve months, with the aim of eventually reaching 80% of the population or nearly 32 million citizens.

The first phase of the program ($400 million) was officially launched on February 24, 2021 in Khartoum in the presence of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Approximately 11.3 million people are expected to benefit from the initial phase of the project that will be implemented in Khartoum, Red Sea, South Darfur, and Kassala states, representing 33% of the total expected number of beneficiaries when the program is at full scale.

As of March 3rd, about 79,142 Sudanese households (close to 400,000 beneficiaries) received their first month payment through cash cards. Total disbursement to these beneficiaries is about $1.9 million. The majority of beneficiaries are in Khartoum State, and the support will soon be extended to other states. The second phase of SFSP will reach around 80% of households in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile, White Nile, Sinnar, Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan (approximately 13.4 million people).

The SFSP is designed to support Sudanese families affected by the ongoing economic crisis which has been compounded by the economic reforms—such as the removal of subsidies—introduced by the Transitional Government. During the High-Level Sudan Partnerships Conference held in Berlin in June 2020, $500 million of the $1.8 billion pledged to support Sudan’s Transitional Government was earmarked for the SFSP. The annual cost of the SFSP is estimated by the Government of Sudan at $1.9 billion. The program will provide $5 to each qualified person in a household initially for six months. Subject to funding availability, the transfers will be ramped up to twelve months, with the aim of eventually reaching 80 per cent of the population, or nearly 32 million Sudanese citizens.

The project has three components: (i) Provision of Cash Transfers; (ii) Establish Delivery Systems and Build Institutional Capacity; and (iii) Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Learning. The program is implemented by the Government of Sudan including the Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, Social Development, and Interior, along with other relevant agencies.

 The World Bank will provide technical support to the government in order to strengthen its financial and social protection system and monitor the program’s activities to ensure effective implementation. The SFSP is financially supported by the World Bank and the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS)  Multi  Donor  Trust  Fund that includes Canada, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, State and Peace Building Trust Fund (SPF), Sweden and United Kingdom.

Original Sources:

  • https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/03/18/world-bank-reaffirms-commitment-to-sudan-s-family-support-program
  • https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/sudan/card/yr9nARLgxb/
  • https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudans-basic-income-scheme-aims-ease-economic-pain-2021-04-29/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS67VwXbtrU
NO Comment 21st June 2021

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