An exterior view of the Oracle Field Office at Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
CAIRO (Reuters) – Sudan’s Nile Bank signed an accord with U.S. software firm Oracle Corp for the provision of a mobile banking platform, a sign Sudan’s economic relations with the United States are thawing after years of crippling sanctions.
The U.S. removed most sanctions on Sudan in October 2017, but left in place restrictions linked to the conflict in Darfur and to Washington’s continued listing of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Relations between Washington and Khartoum have warmed since popular protests led to the ouster in April of President Omar al-Bashir, who had been in power for almost 30 years, and the U.S. has indicated it may end the terrorism listing.
The Oracle agreement is the first major U.S.-Sudanese collaboration in over two years, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by Sudan’s Central Trading Company (CTC Group), an Oracle partner.
The U.S. embassy in Khartoum said the agreement was “an example that the changes Sudan has achieved are not only in the political sphere but in the economy too”.
The agreement was signed a day earlier in the presence of U.S. embassy officials, the embassy statement said.
“Not only will the platform from Oracle improve efficiency and compliance for Nile Bank, but it will help make lending to small business and rural customers cheaper and more streamlined,” the embassy statement said.
One Sudanese banker said that it had been a major hassle doing business without access to Oracle software, and that the software firm had recently declined to work with his bank for fear of violating the sanctions.
Reporting by Patrick Werr and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise