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Sudan: Middle East turns bullish on Sudan

"Sudan is probably the richest country in the region. It has the best commodity in the world: water. It also has oil, minerals, cattle, fertile land and human resources. If it can resolve its problems, Sudan has the potential to be a perfect economy." Such is the view of Ahmed Abbas, CEO of Liquidity Management Centre, a Bahraini Islamic investment firm. And if the capital markets are anything to go by, says Abbas, the biggest country in Africa might already have begun its recovery.

Liquidity Management Centre has just helped the Sudanese government sell a three-year, €68 million sukuk. It was the first sukuk the Sudanese government has issued. Its 9% coupon was, for Sudan, remarkably tight, according to industry insiders. Investors were almost exclusively Middle Eastern or North African. The deal followed a 9.5%, $130 million sukuk sold in September by Sudan’s Berber Cement Company.

Sudanese financing is re-emerging on the international market. At the same time, the country’s domestic banking sector might be about to take off. Two of the country’s biggest banks are negotiating a merger that will create the ninth-biggest bank in Africa – excluding Egypt and South Africa.

It is perhaps too early to get overly excited about Sudan.

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