Donors Pledge 3.55 Billion Dollars for East Sudan

Donors and investors have pledged 3.55 billion dollars for the development of resource-rich but neglected east Sudan, officials said on Thursday at the end of a two-day conference in Kuwait City.

"Total pledges made by participants in the east Sudan donors and investors forum came at 3.55 billion dollars," said Mustafa Osman Ismail, an advisor to the Sudanese president and head of the organizing committee.

He however did not clarify if the 1.6 billion dollars pledged by the Khartoum government was included in the total.

Hosts Kuwait topped donors with 500 million dollars while Iran pledged 200 million dollars and the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank pledged 250 million dollars.

Ismail said the forum, the first of its kind, discussed 177 projects requiring some 4.2 billion dollars of pledges.

A total of 149 projects needing 2.2 billion dollars were aimed at fighting poverty and for infrastructure development, while 28 projects were geared for development of agriculture, industry and others at a cost of two billion dollars.

The forum was attended by representatives from 42 countries, 30 international and regional organizations like the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

It was also attended by 78 non-governmental organizations and 84 private sector companies, Ismail said.

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah said he will travel to Sudan soon to sign an 80-million-dollar project, the first venture in east Sudan arising from the forum.(AFP)