UAE stepping up agricultural investment in Sudan

Sudan Tribune | Thursday 7 August 2008

August 6, 2008 (ABU DHABI) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is beefing up its agricultural investments in Sudan in wake of a food crisis that led to world wide protests primarily in developing nations.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Al-Shehi, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Economy told the Al-Bayan daily that the investments “aim at providing most basic food items to cover local market needs”.

“It is so far investing 900,000 acres in many Sudanese states, notably Zayed Al-Kheir Project, 40,000 acres in Al-Jazeera State where wheat, maize and fodders are planted” he added.

UAE, a high income country that is rich in oil has witnessed soaring food prices. This has exacerbated the inflation rates in the country driven mainly by a local currency pegged to the weakening US dollar.

The Persian Gulf state is dependent on food imports as its climate does not allow for wide scale farming. Some Asian countries have restricted food exports such as rice to other countries in order to meet local demand.

The Arab Gulf states have historically been hesitant to invest in Sudan which has been plagued with civil wars since independence and an estimated two million people have died in the North-South civil war that ended in 2005 after the CPA.

However booming revenue from oil encouraged these Arab Gulf states to pour investments into Sudan primarily in telecommunications and real estate sectors.

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