U.A.E. Lending $300 Million to Crisis-Hit Sudan, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates is giving Sudan $300 million in financing and about 1.12 million tons of fuel, a Sudanese ruling party lawmaker and a local newspaper said, a potential boost for the government of the economically troubled country rocked by a month of protests.

The agreement with the U.A.E.’s government will provide for Sudan’s needs during its “agricultural season,” the Khartoum-based al-Intibaha newspaper reported, citing people in Sudan’s Finance Ministry. It also said that 26 shiploads of fuel from the U.A.E. have arrived in the African nation, enough supply for three months.

While al-Intibaha didn’t specify whether they were loans or grants, the head of the oil and gas committee in Sudan’s parliament, Ishaq Bashir, confirmed the report and said Sudan would repay the assistance. No government ministry officials were available to comment on Friday, the first day of Sudan’s weekend.

Widespread discontent with soaring living costs and shortages of fuel and other commodities has spurred a wave of nationwide protests in which at least 24 people have died and that have posed one of the greatest challenges to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir since he took power in a 1989 coup. Inflation climbed to 72.9 percent in December, the statistics bureau said Friday.

Sudan’s central bank governor said this month that the country was seeking funding from abroad. Unidentified Gulf Arab nations extended about $2 billion in concessional loans to Sudan in 2015, the Finance Ministry said at the time, while Sudanese state media in the past two years has reported the central bank receiving deposits from the U.A.E.

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