In a historic event in Khartoum on in March, this year, the government of Sudan inaugurated the online e-trading system of its stocks, a landmark development in the Sudan’s financial history. Financed by the AfDB-administered Transitional Support Facility (TFS) as part of its Public Financial and Macroeconomic Management (PFM) project, the system will be instrumental in promoting rapid development of the Khartoum Stock Exchange, which is a central in advancing the country’s development through economic diversification and job creation increasing access to finance. This breakthrough by the country emerges from the Bank’s broader efforts to strengthen financial governance and accountability through the PFM project financed with USD 34.8 million approved in 2014.
The Bank’s ongoing efforts to strengthen financial and macroeconomic governance in the country will also see the establishment an integrated electronic system of public financial management, which will include a platform for the complete transition to electronic governance and administration of public resources. This integration of the PFM systems of the federal Ministry of Finance and line Ministries through a customized IT infrastructure will enhance information flow and interaction across ministries, which are fundamental prerequisites increased transparency and accountability.
Undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance Abdalla Ibrahim commended the Bank’s effort. According to him, it “has laid a solid foundation for our country to align itself with the global financial and electronic stock trading systems, while giving us a sound basis to go aboveboard with the way we manage public resources”. A local stockbroker from Port Sudan commented that “it is almost miraculous to see that we no longer have to travel several hours to participate in the Khartoum stock exchange transactions”.
Indeed, the growing importance of online trade does not only emanate from reducing the risks associated with physical cash transactions but it also considerably lowers transaction costs and saves time. In the context of Sudan, the potential of e-trading to improve transparency, flow of information and enhance domestic resource mobilization, through locally adapted instruments such as Sukuk bonds, greatly depends on badly needed infrastructure, a critical gap that the Bank is now addressing. The Minister of Finance himself chairs a committee that to oversees the implementation of this programme. This underscores the magnitude of importance that the country ascribes to this programme.
By Dr Abdul B. Kamara, AfDB’s Resident Representative for Sudan;