Mustafa Osman Ismail, Sudan’s Minister of Investment announced on May 16th the Sudanese government’s offer of $59 billion worth of investment opportunities for businesses based out of the UAE.

The announcement took place at the UAE-Sudan Investment Forum, which concluded Wednesday May 13th and was held at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI). With over 300 CEOs from both countries in attendance, the meeting saw the announcement of a number of substantial initiatives.

Representatives of the Sudanese government were in attendance and offered a variety of investment opportunities in Sudan. Abdel-Rahman al-Khidir, the Governor of Khartoum State, tabled an offer for a 200 million-meter free trade zone, along with opportunities including agricultural programs of over 170 pivots in size. Al-Hadj Abdalla, the Governor of River Nile State spoke of business opportunities in the construction, agricultural and infrastructure sectors, while the Governor of the Northern State, Ibrahim al-Khidir, proposed investment opportunities in wheat production, the expansion of Merowe Airport into a free trade zone to include packing and refrigeration facilities as well as a number of projects within the finance sector.

Ahmed Youssef al-Sidiq, the Sudanese government’s ambassador to the UAE, stated that trade between the UAE and Sudan had reached $2.6 billion in the previous year, with numbers largely driven by increasing gold exports from Sudan. This figure represents a 63% rise from 2013.

Ismail went on to say that investments in Sudan from UAE companies currently stood at $40 billion across a range of sectors and that these investments were largely held by 17 companies. The Forum was largely seen as a success and Ismail believes that there is ample opportunity to grow further investment between the two countries. As an indication of the Forum’s success, Ismail pointed to the fact that several agreements had already been signed with ADCCI, highlighting an agreement regarding management and investment in Sudanese slaughterhouses and that a solar wind energy production project undertaken with Mubadarat Group was currently entering the technical study phase.