Sudan Permits Non-Islamic Banking as It Rebuilds Global Ties

Sudanese authorities approved laws to permit non-Islamic banking as the African country seeks to reintegrate with the global economy.

The changes will allow for a dual system of both Islamic and non-Islamic banking, the Sovereign Transitional Council, part of the administration ruling Sudan since dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019, said in a statement.

Bashir, who’s currently facing trial for the coup that brought him to power, espoused a form of Islamist governance during three decades in office and became a pariah in the West for his government’s human-rights violations and links with militant groups. Sudan is currently battling an economic crisis that drove inflation to over 340% last month.

While Sudan’s banking system was Islamicized in the 1990s, the country briefly saw a parallel non-Islamic system in operation in the mainly Christian and animist south as part of a 2005 peace deal. That ended with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

The announcement came a day after Sudan’s justice minister said the country had abolished a law mandating a boycott of Israel that dated from 1958, the latest step in building economic and diplomatic relations with the Middle Eastern state. The cabinet recently approved its repeal.

The transitional council’s statement said only that the abolition of the law had been discussed with the cabinet. Sudan’s government, a grouping of civilian and military figures, frequently gives mixed messages on its burgeoning ties with Israel.

Authorities also approved a long-awaited investment law, as well as legislation on public-private partnerships, according to the statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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