The United States on Monday warned companies against doing business in Sudan because of the risks present after the country was taken over by the army in October. Photo by EPA-EFE
May 23 (UPI) — The Biden administration is warning Americans against doing business with Sudanese state-owned and military-controlled companies as it seeks to regain civilian control of the northeast African country.
The U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor issued a business advisory on Monday that those operating in Sudan should be aware of “potential reputational risks” and human rights issues. person associated with conducting business with these entities.
U.S. businesses and individuals should also be aware of those who have been blacklisted as Special Designated Nationals and Treasury Blocked Individuals, he added.
The African nation has seen years of economic and political turmoil since the ousting of its former dictator president, Omar al Bashir, in 2019.
After his dismissal, steps were taken to establish a civilian-led transitional government, which the military overthrew in October in a coup.
The United States has repeatedly called on the military government to return to the path of democracy, punished those who have committed human rights violations by suppressing demonstrations against the military coup and suspended economic aid and debt relief in Sudan.
Late last month, the United States along with Britain, France, Germany, Norway and the European Union called for “immediate progress” toward a transitional civilian government.
Monday’s business council said Sudan’s state-owned entities and military-controlled companies played an “unusually large role” in the country’s economy and that since the coup the military had increased its control directly on them.
According to the US government, there are at least 650 companies listed on the stock exchange as state-owned, of which at least 200 are controlled by the military.
“These state-owned enterprises also have a history of sinecure and insiders that has undermined Sudan’s financial and economic resources,” the adviser said. “State-owned companies enjoy preferential treatment from the government and lax transparency and oversight compared to private companies, which are held to higher standards by the government, which has allowed companies to dominate the Sudanese economy”.
The advisory specifically lists Sudanese gold as a risk, stating that the mineral is produced with child labor and military-related equipment and activities, as there is a UN arms embargo against Sudan. resulting from its actions in Darfur.
“The United States remains committed to supporting the aspiration of the people of Sudan for a civilian-led transition to an elected government,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.