Two Emirati companies signed an agreement with the government of Sudan on Tuesday to operate ports in the East African country.
Sudan granted AD Ports Group and Invictus Investment the right to develop, manage and operate economic zone and port assets in Sudan. AD Ports Group and Invictus Investment will be able to create joint ventures, partnerships and other business agreements to support their projects in Sudan, AD Ports Group said in a statement.
The statement did not specify where the port or economic zones will be, among other details. However, AD Ports Group and Invictus Investment said they plan to launch a shipping service in Sudan. AD Sports Group spokespeople did not reply to Al-Monitor's request for comment.
Trade between the United Arab Emirates and Sudan has been increasing since 2019, and the UAE exported $1.37 billion to Sudan in 2021. The main Emirati exports to Sudan were precious stones, sugar and electric equipment. Al-Monitor found no recent data on Sudanese exports to the UAE.
Why it matters: Economic and energy ties between the UAE and the African continent are growing rapidly. The following are some notable developments in UAE-Africa relations from the past year:
- The Abu Dhabi Exports Office signed a financing agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in June. The deal established a $20 million credit line between them aimed at boosting Emirati trade with West Africa.
- In July, the UAE and Kenya started talks on establishing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The UAE previously made such agreements, which are basically free trade deals, with Israel, India and Indonesia.
- The Emirati renewable energy firm Masdar signed an agreement in August to develop wind and solar power projects in Tanzania. The UAE and Tanzania signed a double tax avoidance deal the following September.
- Masdar gave a presentation at the United Nations climate change conference COP27 in November about Africa’s potential to become a hydrogen hub.
Know more: The AD Ports Group deal comes at a time of political instability in Sudan. The Sudanese military-led government recently announced a transition deal, but many activists and observers rejected it.
The agreement is also in line with UAE's ambitions of extending its ports operations across the Middle East and the African continent.