ANKARA: Turkey and Sudan have signed a US$100 million oil exploration deal and an agreement allocating thousands of square miles of Sudanese agricultural land for investment by Turkish companies, Turkey’s agriculture and forestry ministry said on Tuesday.The two countries have strengthened ties and agreed in December, when Tayyip Erdogan made the first visit to Khartoum by a Turkish president, to gradually increase trade to US$10 billion a year.
A year ago, the United States lifted a trade embargo and other penalties that had cut Sudan off from much of the global financial system, but Khartoum’s economy is in crisis, battered by shortages of hard currency and basic food.
A decision to reduce bread subsidies, leading to a doubling in prices, led to rare nationwide protests earlier this year. On Sunday, President Omar al-Bashir dissolved the government and promised a leaner administration to address the crisis.
It plans to rebuild a ruined Ottoman port city on Sudan’s Red Sea coast and construct a naval dock to maintain civilian and military vessels under an agreement reached between the two sides during Erdogan’s visit to Khartoum.
The other agreements signed during Erdogan’s visit included Turkish investment to build Khartoum’s planned new airport and private sector investments in cotton production, electricity generation and building grain silos and meat slaughterhouses.