A Grim History in the Making: Sudan News and Commentary, January 28 – February 4, 2018
Eric Reeves | February 4, 2018 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2d9
Herewith I’ve provided news and commentary on events throughout Sudan for the past week. January/February 2018 is likely to be recorded as the moment in which popular protests and widespread anger and disgust with the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime had finally grown to the point where demonstrations were impossible to suppress—or the moment in which the repressive power of the regime was so conspicuous, so unrestrained and potentially deadly, that Sudanese felt they had been forced to wait for the inevitable collapse of the Sudanese economy—and the corresponding massive, chaotic, unorganized, and inevitably deadly political collapse of the regime.
This is the inevitable point, in other words, in which even the most ruthless survivalism finds itself unable to pay the army or police forces, and they too may soon turn against the men who have governed as self-enriching tyrants for 29 years.
Every day brings additional news portending complete economic collapse; today Radio Dabanga headlines a dispatch suggesting the Sudanese Pound will soon reach 50 to the dollar, up from the record set today of 42 Pounds to the dollar. The inflationary effects of such massive decline in value for the Pound are catastrophic, given Sudan’s dependency on imports—a dependency that is wholly a product of the disastrous economic “policies” of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime over the past 29 years.
Radio Dabanga, US Dollar reaches SDG 42 on Sudan’s parallel market | February 4, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The Sudanese Pound (SDG) continued its rapid decline against foreign currencies, as the US Dollar price rose by two Pounds within two days on the parallel forex market. Businessmen are buying more foreign currencies or gold to retain their capital. Currency traders told Radio Dabanga on Friday that the US Dollar hit SDG 42 in Khartoum. The greenback traded for SDG 40 on Wednesday.
The official indicative rate of the US Dollar, set by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) at SDG 18 a week ago, has not changed. The price of gold at the markets in the Sudanese capital witnessed a major leap as well. “A gram of gold sold for SDG 1,000 ($55) last week now costs SDG 2,000,” a trader reported.
[This is an extraordinary leap in value for the ultimate “hard currency,” and one that can be easily transported and exchanged so long as the security forces do not observe transactions. This 100% increase in the price of gold should be a clear signal to the international community that the economic collapse in Sudan is accelerating and that repression of the inevitable protests will grown increasingly violent and unrestrained—ER]
“The value of the Pound plummeted sharply last week because more traders and businessmen began buying foreign currencies or gold to retain their capital,” he explained. In the past few years, prices of plots and houses has increased significantly as well because of the increased demand by people who wanted to secure their capital.
In November last year, while the US Dollar traded at around SDG 20 on the black market, the Sudanese Finance Ministry imposed new measures to halt the plummeting Pound on the black market. A number of currency dealers were arrested and others fled abroad.
[“Shooting the messenger” is the primary policy response of the NIF/NCP regime to crushing economic realities—ER]
To the extent that European countries and the U.S. are engaged in various forms of rapprochement and offer economic assistance to the regime; to the extent that rich Arab states continue to provide hard currency to a regime that can’t afford even with this assistance to import sufficient food or medicine; to the extent that the African Union simply refuses to see the regime for what it is; and to the extent the UN Security Council continues to be emblematic of massive institutional failure—to the extent that all these realities prolong the agony of the people of Sudan, they have brought upon these most consequential international actors the deepest opprobrium. History will be thoroughly unforgiving.
A day-by-day recording of events in Sudan for January 28 – February 4, 2018, primarily via Tweets ( @SudanReeves )
The #Sudan/ese Pound is still in “free fall” against hard currencies, guaranteeing continuing catastrophic inflation. Popular unrest and demonstrations continue to be met with beatings and arrests by an increasingly desperate NIF/NCP regime: repression is its only “economic tool”:
There is no reason to believe the international community—including the UN and African Union—will compel the Khartoum regime to comply with the terms of this agreement about a UNAMID base in Central #Darfur. The regime has NEVER abided by ANY agreement with any international actor:
“‘There’s no personal freedom in Sudan,’ says rights lawyer: Tasneem El-Zaki, jailed for defending rape victims, speaks of abuses in home country,” Irish Times, Feb 2, 2018 @SorchaPollak, http://bit.ly/2BONhr3 For extensive overview of rape in Darfur see http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG
#Sudan is ranked 174 out of 180 countries by Reporters Without Borders in its “Press Freedom Index”—and may soon slip even lower. The NISS has proved extremely resourceful in containing protests with violence, arrests, tear gas, & closing newspapers—but people are still protesting the regime:
Critically short of Forex backing, #Sudan’s currency continues to plummet in value, thus increasing inflation. The NIF/NCP regime has long responded to monetary and fiscal pressures by selling or leasing valuable farmland to non-Sudanese actors: see | http://bit.ly/2DVhRFa
As calls grow for a demonstration tomorrow—“Great Salvation Rally,” 3pm, Jan. 31, Shaabiya Square, Khartoum North—the economic backdrop is increasingly ominous. Extremely rapid decrease in value of the #Sudan/ese Pound signals a clear possibility of devastating “hyper-inflation”:
Is this the moment of truth for the people of #Sudan? Calls for “Great Salvation Rally” (3pm, January 31, 2018, Shaabiya Square, Khartoum North) have received widespread political support. But it will be ordinary Sudanese confronting an inevitable security presence—and live bullets:
Witnessing a grim history in the making: #Sudan news and commentary, January 2018: a month’s worth of day-by-day news, as well as commentary on events throughout Sudan, focusing on implications of the catastrophic effects of 2018 NIF/NCP regime #budget: https://wp.me/p45rOG-2ch