A weak economy and a lingering political impasse have spoiled the joy of the Sudanese people in the run-up to this year’s Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Many Sudanese people have been unable to afford the Eid necessities for their families because of high inflation and their poor economic conditions, and some even have no access to shops as protests demanding a return to civilian rule have persisted since the general commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan declared a state of emergency on October 25 last year and dissolved the Sovereign Council and the government.
“We cannot reach the markets because of the demonstrations and the closure of the streets and bridges,” Ahmed Abdul-Rahman, a senior employee at the Agricultural Bank in the capital Khartoum, told Xinhua.
In the face of the high price of commodities, Abdul-Rahman has tried to make the most of his meager pay by only purchasing things for his children who are still oblivious of what is going on around them.
The declining purchasing power of the customers has impacted businesses in Khartoum’s Bahri market, one of the city’s largest.
“Because of the political crisis and the poor economy, business activities have largely stagnated, and people’s purchasing power is weak,” Husam El-Din Hamza, a dealer at Bahri market, told Xinhua.
“The situation is now completely different from that of three years ago,” Widad Hassan Mahdi, an employee at a private sector company in Khartoum, told Xinhua.
She said pessimism about the country’s future is felt, dampening the Eid atmosphere.
Sudan has been plagued by an economic crisis since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which costs Sudan 75 percent of its oil revenues. Its economic crisis turned for the worse after the US and international agencies suspended aid after the declaration of a state of emergency in the country in October last year.
The United States has suspended 700 million dollars in economic aid to Sudan, while the World Bank failed to offer Sudan 500 million dollars due in November 2021. The International Monetary Fund also halted the 150 million dollars in special drawing rights for Sudan.
Sudan’s debt relief process under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative of the IMF has also been suspended.
In a recent press conference, Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan, warned that unless the current political crisis in Sudan is resolved, the country risks sliding further into instability and jeopardizing its important political, social, and economic progress.