Reasons of scarcity of Arab investments in Sudan: Is It due to poor promotion or fear of procedures?

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Sudan has the most fertile lands in the Arab world
Sudan Vision Daily | 15.12.2011

Reasons of scarcity of Arab investments in Sudan: Is It due to poor promotion or fear of procedures?

Agricultural investment in Sudan, particularly by Arab investors is still very weak. Despite the attention the government is giving to investment and the formation of investment higher council under the auspices of president of the republic, the objectives are still from being achieved.

This happens though Arab countries need to invest in the large Sudanese fertile lands, particularly when we know that Arabs import their basic food needs, particularly   grains, from abroad. Statistics show that Arabs import about 67 percent of their grains needs.

Many observers are of the opinion that Arab investments in Sudan are weak. In 2002, the total investments of Arabs in the sector stood at about $7,800,000,000.

Editor of Banking Magazine, El Tijani Hussein Al Khabeir, says that Sudan - despite its vast fertile land that are estimated at about 200 million feddans, pure water and underground water that is estimated at about 40, 0000,000,000 cubic meters - has the most fertile lands in the Arab world due to abundant natural resources.

Sudan capable of feeding 25% of world population

Dr. El Tijani adds that Sudan is capable of feeding one quarter of world population and five folds of Arab countries population, thanks to its diversified climate, abundant fertile lands, animal resources, pure water.

He added the present investment law is not bad but the problem stems from the implementation of such laws.

He said the government must ease taxes and fees imposed on investments.

"If the agricultural sector is properly exploited, Sudan could become one of the major world agricultural countries on the same level with the US and China which have gone a long way in agricultural investment," Dr. El Tijani said.

He added the government must give more care to existing agricultural lands since they are not being exploited as they should by providing good-quality  fodders at appropriate priced for consumers.

Dr. El Tijani said in most countries, more than 20 types of fodders are used in the lands to be grown so that the land may not lose its fertility in a short period of time, while in the case of agricultural lands in Sudan only about five to six types of fodders are used.

"This is why a production of one feddans in Sudan is poor and cannot be compared with production in some countries, such as China where a feddan produces four times of that produced by a feddans in case of Sudan," he said.

He added that the government must give more care to fertilization since it is the food of the grown land.

Dr. El Tijani went on to say that utilization of modern technology is very important since it is the only way for increasing the productivity of a feddan.

He added the government should work to attract more Arab and local investments in the field of agriculture, an undertaking that will benefit all.

It is noteworthy that the government has given great attention to the encouragement of investments in general and has introduced a number of packages for encouraging agricultural investment in particular.

Thus, the report submitted to Parliament by the chairman of industry and investment committee, Al Zehawi, spoke about a number of programs, including encouragement of entry of capital and expertise in the field of agricultural investment, promotion of investment internally and externally and the encouragement of national investors and providing them with all necessary assistance.

In addition, the report called for the simplification of investment procedures, promotion of agricultural and animal resources projects in implementation of the Agricultural Revival Program (ARP).

In his report, Al Zehawi also addressed the decline of agricultural investment at all the states of the country, a deterioration that reflects poor promotion and absence of infrastructure and planning.

He called for the distribution of investment to cover all states and not restricting it to Khartoum state which alone holds 90 percent of all investment projects.

The committee's report recommended that investment law should be amended in a way that should guarantee proper monitoring and support of the investment projects as long as they exist, with focus given to a unified national investment map for ensuring priories of investment according to the needs of country.

Further, the report recommended that the reasons of the reluctance of investors to invest in the country should be investigated and that the national private sector and foreign investors encouraged to increase their investments in the agricultural and animal resources sectors.

The committee emphasized the importance of developing agriculture so that self-sufficiency is ensured in Sudan as well as in all Arab countries.

Many experts are of the opinion that it is extremely important that agricultural investments be encouraged and say this will lead to stability at the international markets, something which will have positive effect for Sudan and for all Arab countries.

By Hana Abdel Hai,
Original source: Sudan Vision Daily
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