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Bashir ouster rekindles interest in long-defaulted Sudan loans

In the hazy world of distressed debt trading, the fall of Sudan’s autocratic ruler of 30 years, Omar al-Bashir, has sparked fresh interest among traders and holders of the country’s long-defaulted debt.

Following weeks of demonstrations kindled by soaring food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression, 75-year-old Bashir was overthrown on Thursday by the military, three decades after himself seizing power in a coup.

The newly ruling military council on Friday promised a transition to an elected civilian government.

Frozen for the best part of four decades, Sudan’s debt is part of a highly opaque market of legacy debts of countries isolated from the rest of the international community, such as pre-Castro Cuban debt or loans issued by North Korea.

Apart from defaulting on payments from the early 1980s onwards, Sudan was also subject to U.S. sanctions linked to the conflict in Darfur for nearly two decades until 2017.

“This is a big moment for the country. Now we need to see what happens next, what sort of a government or leader they will get, and how the situation will develop,” said one holder of the defaulted loans, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There’s a potential for real change, but change isn’t always for the better and it could take a very long time for things to improve…Continue Reading

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