December 23, 2010

Kuwait signs agreements with Sudan

As a follow-up to the recent Donor and Investment Conference, government officials met in Khartoum on Tuesday December 21, 2010, and 11 agreements were signed between Kuwait and Sudan.

The Kuwaiti deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs launched the Joint Sudanese Kuwaiti Ministerial Committee when they met with Sudanese President Bashir, and the Sudan foreign minister, Ali Karti.

Agreements included an $80 million contribution toward the construction of the Atbara Sitate River Dam. Additional agreements were signed in areas of youth and sport, culture and arts, investment, education, security, mutual accreditation of national maritime certificates, commercial cooperation, animal and fish resources, information  and agricultural cooperation.>

Here's the article.

also located here

UPDATE: Dec 24. Comments by Ali Karti noted: 

UPDATE: April 30, 2011 Agreement approved by Sudan government for $175 million
"The cabinet also approved a 175 million dollars agreement to fund the establishment of Upper Atbara and Setite Dams.

December 19, 2010

Sharia law in the north?

President Bashir was reported by the BBC as planning to increase the Islamic role in society in Northern Sudan, should the south choose to separate in the upcoming referendum.

"Mr Bashir said the constitution would then be changed, making Islam the only religion, Sharia the only law and Arabic the only official language."

Read the whole article.

Beja style sticks

A discussion active on a weapons forum looks at various Beja sticks.

December 15, 2010

Smuggling people through Beja territory

In this interesting article, the author outlines a disturbing story. Young women are kidnapped in Eritrea and perhaps Ethiopia, transported north through Sudan, to Egypt, and across the Sinai peninsula to Suadi Arabia where they are sold for $2000 to work as housemaids.

The Rashaida tribe are implicated as the perpetrators of these activities. A number of links provide circumstantial evidence.

December 14, 2010

US Envoy Scott Gration interviewed

"A greater share of the pie."

The United States of America has a Department of State, responsible for international affairs. One of the people assigned to Sudan is a special envoy, Mr. Scott Gration. He is currently visiting Sudan, and he held a press conference over the telephone, the transcript of the questions and answers is on the internet. (The photo above is from another event.)

Mr Gration answered a question about possible future of Sudan. If the south separates, perhaps the east and the west will also separate?

MR. GRATION: "We are working hard with other members of the international community to ensure that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is implemented fully. And when that happens, it gives the people of the South an opportunity to choose their future, whether they’ll be united with the North or a separate country. There is no other process in Sudan that would – that I know of that would result in separate countries or a federalized system.

"The fact is I believe that the Sudanese Government here in Khartoum needs to work very hard to ensure that the people of Darfur are integrated fully into the North and that the Beja people and the people of Port Sudan in that region, the eastern peaks of Sudan, are integrated fully. And this is why the negotiations in Darfur – I mean, and in Doha are so important, because they lay out a future that includes power sharing, that includes well sharing, so that these regions get a greater share of the pie, and they include other issues that will actually unite the north in a way that listens to the needs of the people and does what a responsible government should do, which is to provide those public sector services, build infrastructure, and that will allow people to continue their lives with prosperity and dignity and human rights."

No mention was made in this interview of the recent Donors and Investment Conference in Kuwait.

December 7, 2010

Joint oversight commission formed

On December 21, officials from Kuwait and Sudan will sign agreements at the first joint technical ministerial commission meeting. Deals in investment on land transport, fine arts, culture and information, animal resources and trade will be signed, as a follow-up to the Donor and Investment Conference.

UPDATE: President Bashir gets on board with this coordinating effort after a briefing by his assistant, the (former?) Beja Congress leader Musa Mohamed Ahmed.

More reviews of the conference

News sources are picking up the story, but the articles are mostly reprints...


The Daily Star in Lebanon.

International development news agency Devex .

The cabinet is briefed on the conference

President Bashir calls Kuwait to say thank you for hosting the conference, reported in SudanVision.

A journalist based in Saudi Arabia uses a Koranic verse to encourage the giving of thanks. He then expresses gratitude to two of the key donors at the conference.

A Sudanese site reporting government activities describes the conference results.

BUT the United Nations Development Programme has a good press release worth reading for a full picture.

Presidential assistant and conference organizer Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail likes Germany.

The Arab Times identifies various amounts of pledges.

Egypt's leading newspaper Al-Ahram is now on the internet - from November 26, 2010. Ahram Online published a review of the conference.

Qatar Tribune

December 3, 2010

Christians pray for Sudan on December 5

From around the world, thousands of Christians will be praying for Sudan on Sunday. December 5 has been designated the "International Day of Prayer for Sudan." It's oriented toward praying for the referendum coming up in January.
Read the short prayer promotional page.

Also, south Sudan leaders have called for 40 days of prayer beginning on December 1. This will lead up and end on the day of voting on January 9, 2011.
President Kiir attended the opening session. Read more about the "season of prayer".

More conference reviews

Sudan's presidential assistant Musa Mohammad Ahmed addresses the opening session of the international donors and investors meeting for the development of east Sudan, in Kuwait City, on December 1, 2010.

 In Kuwait, an article covers the main points. Worth reading, since it's longer than most of the others linked below.

A few notes about the content of Musa Ahmed's speech to the conference.

A cynical review by a Beja man on his blog.  The English looks like an automatic translation from Arabic.

From China. They say they attach importance to the traditional friendship with Sudan, but the reality is often that they don't bother to hire local labour to help them with their projects.

From England. The BBC writes up an article full of generalities, and short on facts.

The excellent review article by James Calderwood, published in the National, out of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Just three sentences from Bikyamasr, based in Egypt. And the developing online paper [it's in beta testing], the Daily News Egypt dot com has a bigger write up.

KippReport is an online Middle East business magazine. They had a little item.

In Sudan, the United Nations Mission in Sudan [UNMIS] noted Kuwait's $500 million gift on their media source /

MORE: Qatar media offers a wrap-up, with a view on expected returns on investment.

Iran news had a lead-up article.

An Iranian students news service notes that additional political connections were enhanced at the conference, in this case, between Iran and Syria. Tunisia connected with Kuwait.

Sudan Vision posts a review online on Saturday, December 4. And an editorial that is gushy in its happy review.

The United Nations has an Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The OCHA has a news website. A small article was written at Relief Web; the site is worth exploring for information on aid efforts after worldwide disasters and such.

The United Arab Emirates News Service published a bulletin.

Haris Silajdzic, the outgoing chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina offers Bosnian help to Kuwait for their work in east Sudan.

Reuters Africa. The Voice of AmericaBloomberg News.

Google News references 24 articles.

Excellent review of conference

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (R) sit together during the opening session of the international donors and investors meeting for the development of east Sudan, in Kuwait City, on December 1, 2010, as reported in the IndiaTimes.

A conference in Kuwait aimed at raising money for the impoverished region of East Sudan secured more than US$3.5 billion (Dh12.9bn) in pledges, officials said yesterday, while some [Beja] participants raised concerns that the money would be misspent.

James Calderwood captures the main themes of the conference in this short article.

December 2, 2010


Good morning

Mr Chairman, excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Like others I would like to congratulate the government of Kuwait and the Government of Sudan for organizing this very important conference.

As this conference has highlighted, eastern Sudan has high potential but is a neglected area with extremely poor   development indicators.

Regional development will enhance the livelihoods of the local population, diversify and increase the national economy, and strengthen regional trade.

USAID has provided almost $10 million annually for the east through the UN international organizations as well as Sudanese NGOs, providing food security, water, sanitation and also demining assistance.

Agriculture is clearly a key driver for development in the east.

Once Sudan's granary, much of the east has strong potential to improve subsistence agriculture and
export oriented agriculture.

We believe that agriculture in the east could serve as one of the most important foundations for building sustainable livelihoods especially for women, for the region and potentially providing substantial agricultural
exports destined for east african and middle eastern markets.

In the 1980s USAID was the largest donor in Sudan providing assistance for the agriculture sector.

Given the right circumstances, we would look to again expand our assistance in agriculture again including in the east.

Like others we are encouraged by the recent announcement from the government lifting travel restrictions in the east and we look forward to getting out there as quickly as we can.

In conclusion USAID is pleased and honoured to be able participate with all of you in this important conference
and to hear from the many interested public- and private-sector partners especially those from the arab world.

The United States encourages Arab partners to play a leading role in assisting all parts of Sudan - including the east, in the post-CPA period.

The USA charges d'affair in Sudan visited eastern Sudan just a few weeks ago, as we heard from his Canadian colleague, and USAid plans to send technical teams soon with our government colleagues.

Like others we would  encourage the government of Sudan to organize an ongoing coordinating form in Khartoum  for recovery and development programs in the east as follow up to this important conference.

We look forward to engaging in this process to the fullest extent possible

Thank you.

Closing Session - Part 1. Starting 4:30 mark.

December 1, 2010

What Canada said

Mr. President, thank you very much.

I want also to express our appreciation for the organization of this conference by the Government of Kuwait and also to give our congratulations to all participants because a good conference is also the conference of the participants.

Canada also welcomes strongly the new policy established by the Government of Sudan to allow visiting the east Sudan without requiring any permits.

I had the pleasure to visit two states last week, and congratulate personally two of the Governors, and to  congratulate also the third governor, the governor of Port Sudan this morning.

That will a great advantage for any of us to increase our contributions in the east Sudan.

Canada has an approach of all of Sudan in cooperations since the first conference of 2005 in Olso.

Canada has a full commitment to $100 million a year in cooperation with Sudan and that will continue with the same level of commitment over the next few years.

We have already projects in the east of Sudan in the order of $6 million a year.

Projects in the [areas] of DDR,  (for the demobilization) and also land mines, education, health and water.

We work also very closely with many of our sisters trying to focus on the development of women in the east Sudan.

In the next future we expect then we will be able to invest a maybe a litttle bit more again. In the east Sudan we have a new project, but the average is $6 million a year, with a strong commitment to eventually do more for east Sudan.

Transcribed from Session 1, 74 minute mark.

Conference Pledges

Kuwait: $500 million dollars
Iran: $200 million dollars.
European Union: 24 million euros
Italy: 30 million euros
Spain: 15 million euros "this year alone"
Qatar: huge investment [amount not given]
Sudan: $1.572 billion, includes about $500 million already promised.
Norway: $5 million new money
South Africa: $150,000
Turkey: rehabilitation of Ottoman Customs House at Suakin
China: $23 million dollars
Britain: $70 million [£45m]
Canada: $6 million "a year", as usual
Sweden, Brazil, Belgium, Turkey: Already active, no new money.

Arab Investment Guarantee Organization: $ 300 million
UNHCR: $45 million over 3 years (new money)
Islamic Development Bank: $200 million ($250 million?)
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development: $210 million
Abu Dhabi Investment Fund: [donation amount not yet determined]
Turkish State Fund: [donatiaon amount not yet determined]

More than 600 representatives of 39 countries, 28 international organisations and 73 non-governmental organisations are attending the two-day Donor Conference hosted by Kuwait.

Partially sourced from google news: