France and Sudan

Relations with the new Sudanese authorities

Since the beginning of the revolution in Sudan, France has taken the position of supporting a peaceful political transition. It has therefore participated in the Sudan Friendship Group since its creation and put forward possibilities to support the country economically in order to ensure its long-term stability.

France was therefore quick to welcome the official signing of the Constitutional Declaration on 17 August 2019, as well as the nomination of the Sovereignty Council Members and the Prime Minister on 21 August. On these various occasions, France reiterated its willingness to support the new Sudanese authorities in the numerous tasks that await them (peace agreement with armed groups, economic recovery, organization of next elections).

Visits

Last visit to Paris: visit by the former Sudanese Foreign Minister, Mohamed Ahmed Al Dirdiri, from 20 to 22 November 2018, during which he met with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, deputies and senators, Agence Française de Développement and MEDEF representatives and French entrepreneurs.

Last visit to Sudan:
Visit by the Africa and Indian Ocean Director and the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, as part of the bilateral consultations between France and Sudan in Khartoum on 18 July 2018.

Economic relations

In 2018, trade between France and Sudan totalled €126 million (see above). Several French businesses are already present in Sudan (Bolloré, Nutriset, Sagemine), while others have shown interest in investing in or returning to Sudan due to its economic potential since US economic sanctions were lifted. Several businesses have also made recent visits to Sudan (Airbus, Bolloré Transports). The Directorate General of the Treasury and the Agence Française de Développement (through its intermediary Proparco) have studied several economic development projects targeted at the private sector in Sudan which may interest French corporations.

The European banks, however, are still reluctant, due to Sudan being on the US list of terrorism-supporting countries and despite the US sanctions being lifted in October 2017. This is a major obstacle to any substantive investments. This situation can only serve as encouragement to Sudan to continue its efforts to create an attractive business environment.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Relations in the fields of cultural and academic cooperation are particularly vibrant with the main focus on scientific and academic cooperation, promotion of the French language and protecting the network.

We have long-standing scientific cooperation. This is borne out by the establishment in Khartoum in 1993 of the Centre for Social, Judicial and Economic Documentation and Study (CEDEJ), and the creation in 1969 of the French Section of the Sudanese Directorate of Antiquities (SFDAS), a Franco-Sudanese archaeological research institute.

Significant academic cooperation has been developed, and France is the leading destination in the Western World for Sudanese students.

The scientific cooperation partnership created on an equal basis with the government of Sudan which established the “NAPATA” Hubert Curien Partnership programme is the third such programme to be implemented by France in sub-Saharan Africa. The creation of this instrument completes the structuring of cooperation ties that have reached a certain maturity and is proof of France’s very positive opinion of the Sudanese university system. Sudanese government’s government’s equal commitment (Ministry for Higher Education and Scientific Research) and the successful implementation of this new programme are highly positive.

France has an active cultural and educational network in Sudan, first and foremost with the Institut français (French Institute) of Khartoum, but also with a network of Alliance française branches (Al-Ubayyid, Wad Madani and Port-Sudan) and Franco-Sudanese centres (Dalang, Rufaa and Nyala), as well as the French school in Khartoum.

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Updated: 220 August 2019