NABC's Arne Doornebal welcomed the new year by venturing to Sudan for a one-week visit, in preparation for the 3-day trade mission due to take place on February 25 - March 1st. As he reflects on his visit, we can easily see how Sudan presents a number of good opportunities for Dutch businesses to implement their expertise, namely those with an agricultural focus.
"It is fascinating to be in Sudan at this time," states Mr. Doornebal. "Everybody that I speak with here is extremely welcoming, and it seems as if the entire world is suddenly interested in doing business here, after the US lifted economic sanctions in October" he continues. The trade mission organized by NABC, in cooperation with the The Embassy of the Sudan to the Netherlands and the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation, will therefore aim to capitilize from this recent shift, allowing companies to do business with the sixth largest economy in Africa. "Just two months later, a large US trade mission was in the country, followed by a Turkish mission -led by their president. Next month the French are bringing a delegation."
Mr. Doornebal also comments: "Let's be honest: Sudan is not for the fainthearted, the country's economic policies can at times be unpredictable, and the economy is still overcoming the shock of the 2011 secession of South Sudan (that contained 80% of the country's oil fields.) However, the dramatic decline in oil revenues is forcing the country to go back at what it was originally very good at: Agriculture." A little over 8% of Sudan is arable land, making it an ideal spot for agriculture. Not only that, the country is naturally enriched with desired resources including petroleum and hyrdopower. So, regardless of the challenges the country has recently faced, the African Development Bank previously revealed how the country's economy grew in 2017 by approximately 3%, and is expected to continue expanding in the next couple years.
"People that I speak to are highly positive about the prospect of working with Dutch seed companies and seed potato companies. Also, the growing poultry sector presents myriad opportunities. Banking remains an issue here, even after the removal of the sanctions, but walking around Khartoum you see plenty of banks. What they have in common is that they have links to Dubai, which serves as a hub for transactions to and from Sudan."