UAE, Sudan hold talks to boost trade relations

Economic leaders in the United Arab Emirates courted Sudan with a high-level business forum as the Gulf nation works to diversify its oil-rich economy.

Sudanese leaders met with a large delegation of the Emirates’ economic and business leaders last week in Abu Dhabi, hoping to foster stronger economic cooperation between the two nations.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the UAE in February to meet with Emerati officials and attend an arms fair the UAE hosted. The latest round of economic talks last week is meant to bolster the burgeoning relationship between the two nations.

The relationship has grown steadily between the UAE and Sudan, as they did more than $2.5 billion in trade in 2013 alone. That’s not enough, however, Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, the UAE’s minister of economy, said.

“Our ambitions exceed such figures. We are aware that trade exchange and joint investments between the UAE and Sudan are still below the available capabilities,” Al-Mansouri said.

To address that, those attending the business forum vowed to exchange as much information as possible on potential investments between the nations and encourage their respective private-sector businesses to open operations up in both the UAE and Sudan.

The relationship could help in reducing the UAE’s dependence on oil revenue, which currently makes up 31 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

In turn, Sudan hopes the ties to the Gulf economic hub will provide a bridge to working with many other countries.