Sudan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing

It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.

Last published date: 2021-02-13

Methods of Payment

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide available at https://www.trade.gov/trade-finance-guide-quick-reference-us-exporters.

Banking Systems:

Sudan’s financial system is relatively small by regional standards.  Sudan has not had access to international banking institutions as it was under comprehensive U.S. economic and financial sanctions until late 2017.  Despite lifting of these comprehensive sanctions, international banks remain wary of operating in Sudan due to reputational risk associated with Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.  The banking sector comprises 32 banks, including five foreign and four state-owned banks.  Sudan’s banking sector remains under capitalized, deficient in modern technology, and lacking in trained and experienced human resources.  Most banks and other financial institutions are concentrated around Khartoum.  Most foreign banks operating in Sudan are based in Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, or Qatar.  The Central Bank of Sudan lists banks operating in Sudan at:

https://cbos.gov.sd/en/content/operating-banks-sudan 

The financial and banking sector is regulated by the Central Bank of Sudan (under the Sudan Central Bank Act, 2002), the Khartoum Stock Exchange (under the Khartoum Stock Exchange Act, 1994) and the Insurance Supervisory Authority (under the Insurance Control Act, 2001).

Foreign Exchange Controls:

Facing a severe foreign exchange reserves shortage, the CLTG has tightened conversion and transfer policies, and as a result domestic businesses have no assurance of obtaining needed levels of foreign currency for international transactions.  The CLTG strictly controls incoming hard currency from exports and business owners wishing to retrieve cash can only make withdrawals denominated in Sudanese pounds at the time of this report.  Foreign companies operating in Sudan require the Central Bank of Sudan’s (CBoS) permission to repatriate profits and foreign currency.  The Investment Act of 2013 enshrines the right to repatriate capital and profits, provided the investor has opened an investment account at the CBoS before entering business.  To avoid banking delays, many Sudanese firms complete a significant amount of transactions outside of official channels or complete transactions abroad in U.S. dollars, euros, riyals, or dirhams.  Whether or not the government will revise its practices to ensure a steady stream of foreign exchange once international correspondent banking resumes remains to be seen.  The Investment Act also established courts to handle investment issues and disputes, however the judiciary has limited expertise adjudicating commercial disputes.

The gap between the black market and official exchange rates has widened since publication of the previous report.  The official rate set by the government is 55:1, while the parallel market rate has reached 250:1 (as of October 2020).  The government increased the official rate to 55:1 in March 2020 to unify exchange rates.  Nonetheless, this divergence adds to the difficulty and complexity of settling accounts and repatriating profits and foreign exchange.  While Sudanese and foreigners are permitted to hold foreign currency accounts in private commercial banks, access to the currency can be delayed and/or limited without prior notification.  Individuals and businesses often resort to obtaining hard currency on the black market.  Local businesses may avoid holding significant cash in domestic deposit accounts altogether.  Sudan’s inflation rate as of October 2020 was 220 percent, up from 71 percent in February and 64 percent in January.  The rise in inflation has been attributed to price increases of food commodities, devaluation of the Sudanese Pound, and shrinking imports.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks:

No U.S. banks operate in Sudan.  The Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank does not offer any Sudan-specific programs.