News of the revocation of economic sanctions against Sudan by the United States government is music to the ears of businesses and investors interested in Africa’s third largest country after two decades of severe restrictions.
The sanctions relief comes as a go-ahead to tapping key trade and investment opportunities in Sudan, across industries such as finance, agriculture, mining, and tourism; with companies such as Jumia Travel now planning to revive business with hotel partners in the country. “Like any other business, the sanctions had largely affected our business in the Sudan, perhaps even feeling the pinch more as we are in the travel industry. With an already promising growth in tourism, we are happy to explore the massive business potential that lies in the sector,” says an ecstatic Cyrus Onyiego, Jumia Travel’s Country Manager Kenya.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) report on Travel & Tourism Global Economic Impact & Issues 2017, Sudan’s tourism sector has registered impressive growth in the past 6 years, with an annual average growth of 49.8% in visitor exports. This, besides directly supporting 1.8% of total employment (193,000 jobs) in 2016, and an expected increase of the same by 5.7% in 2017.
Onyiego further notes that reviving Sudan-bound bookings on the online platform will provide increased visibility of the properties, resulting in added growth in revenues. “We believe by so doing it will go a long way in contributing to the employment rate in Sudan, as well as to the growth of the country’s economy which is on its road to recovery.”
Sudan’s sanctions date back to the 1990’s after the country was accused of hosting Osama Bin Laden, sympathizing with terrorists as well as supporting terrorist activities. The issuing of an executive order by Obama to lift the bans on a probational case during his last days in office paved the path to restoration which has finally culminated to the clearance. With a naturally endowed ecosystem, defined culture and heritage; presently spotting a list of five tentative World Heritage Site, Sudan has an abundance of tourist attractions and unadulterated experiences which if tapped will be an invaluable source of revenue to the country.
Credit: Josephine Wawira