Actions to improve the business environment discussed in Khartoum at the presentation of the Investment Policy Review of Sudan

28 November 2014

Sudan has made progress in improving its investment climate but challenges remain, an UNCTAD review has concluded.

A review of investment policies in Sudan, prepared by UNCTAD at the request of the Sudanese government, was presented to high-level government officials, private sector representatives and other development partners at a workshop in Khartoum on 25 November 2014.

The Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Sudan recommends a series of measures to improve the legal framework for investment, in parallel with modernization of the investment promotion institutions.

During the workshop, participants exchanged views on the IPR's main findings and recommendations with an UNCTAD team.

Ahmed Shawer, Secretary General of the National Investment Authority, said the Review's detailed recommendations would help to enhance the business climate in Sudan. "We hope to implement the recommendations with technical assistance from UNCTAD" he added.

Chantal Dupasquier, Chief of UNCTAD's IPR section, said that the purpose of the IPR was to assist Sudan in achieving its national development objectives through attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI).

The IPR takes into account Sudan's substantial, but largely unexploited, potential to attract foreign investors, especially in agriculture, mining and tourism - key sectors targeted for economic diversification by the Sudanese government.

The IPR recognizes that the Sudanese government has made efforts to build a more favourable business environment, but challenges remain.

Current laws related to investment are generally modern and in line with good international practice, according to the IPR, but their implementation could be improved through adoption of secondary legislation, strengthened institutions and better coordination among different levels of the government.

Other policy challenges include the need to clarify and streamline the process of establishing investors, improving access to land, and reviewing the tax regime to generate much needed public revenue.

The report also recommends improvements in institutional structure and FDI promotion efforts through the establishment of an independent and publicly funded investment promotion agency.

The presentation of the report, which was organized in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme office in Sudan, was followed by an in-depth and lively discussion about proposed regulatory reforms and what was needed to upgrade investment promotion.

UNCTAD has carried out more than 40 IPRs at the request of developing-country governments.