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Financial Sector Overview

Economic Landscape

Sudan is ranked among the lower middle-income countries in the world with a GDP per capita equivalent to USD 977.3 in 2018. The country has lost 75% of its oil reserves estimated at 3.5 billion barrels and over 75% of its tax revenue, after South Sudan independence in July 2011. Since then, the economic situation in Sudan has remained worrying. After recession episodes recorded in 2011 and 2012, the economic growth rate slowed again in 2018 (-2.3%), following an unfavorable macroeconomic situation characterized by high inflation (61.8% in 2018 against 32.4% in 2017), gradual elimination of energy subsidies and drying up of foreign exchange reserves due to the significant loss of oil revenues. The deterioration of living conditions, fueled by rising prices and the shortage of basic necessities, generated a broad movement of popular protests which led, in April 2019, to changes of head of state. Another source of macroeconomic concern is the public debt, which stood at 211.7% of GDP (in 2019 according to the IMF). Although the United States lifted its sanctions in October 2017, keeping Sudan on the U.S. red list hampers treatment of Sudanese debt and contributes to further mistrust of foreign investors. Added to this situation, it is worth noting that the business climate remains very unattractive. According to the World Bank Doing Business report, the country occupied the 171st place in 2019 (out of 190 economies), a rank well below that of 2018 (162nd) and 2012 (143rd). Sudan's prospects for economic recovery are further limited by several factors, including internal social tensions, insecurity and persistent conflicts in some regions (South Kordofan and Blue Nile), the unsustainable nature of external debt, unemployment high (12.9% in 2019 according to the IMF) and the country's weak institutional capacities. Poverty level remains high and social services are insufficient to meet the needs of the vast majority of the population. However, Sudan has many assets, including the untapped potential of the agricultural sector (31% of GDP in 2018). The area of ​​arable land, estimated at 840,000 km2 and of which only 18% is currently exploited, is suitable for a wide variety of crops and livestock. 67% of the Nile basin is inside the Sudanese territory, and the country remains the world's leading producer of gum arabic. The domestic policymakers have provided the country with a long-term development plan for the period 2007-2031, including commitments in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals and implementation through successive five-year programs.

Financial Sector Overview

The Sudanese financial sector includes 37 banks, 38 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and 14 insurance companies. The country also has 20 exchange offices and 10 money transfer companies. The Khartoum Stock Exchange is the main stock market in the country. Sudan has made considerable progress in addressing deficiencies in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (AML / CFT), since the country has been withdrawn from the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2015. After opening of the first Islamic bank in 1978, the government in 1984 forced all of the country's banks to operate according to Sharia-compliant methods.

Banking Sector

Structure of the banking market Sudanese banks have been operating in accordance with the principles of Islamic finance since 1984. In 2019, the sector was composed of 37 banks (35 banks in 2012), including 32 commercial banks (one public bank, 7 foreign-owned banks representing 23% of total banking assets and 24 mixed capital banks) and 5 specialized banks among which 4 are government-owned and focusing lending to targeted sectors, such as agriculture or infrastructure development. As of November 2019, the total assets of the banking sector amounted to around 505 billion Sudanese pounds (SDG) (9.1 billion USD), or 25% of GDP according to the IMF. The five largest banks represent 55% of total assets. The number of bank branches has increased, from 629 in 2012 to 778 in 2017.

Structure of loans and deposits Total bank credit to the private sector reached SDG 156,002 million (USD 2.8 billion) in 2018, representing 11.4% of GDP and a 59% increase compared to 2017. Customer deposits reached SDG 302.3 billion (USD 5.5 billion) in 2018 and the share of demand deposits in total deposits represented 48.6% the same year, compared to 51.4% for savings and term deposits. A deposit guarantee fund has been created (law of 1996) and it aims to guarantee bank deposits, according to an operating mode based on Islamic finance. The cumulative value of contributions to the fund amounted to SDR 187 million in 2017 (USD 3.8 million), of which 48% came from banks, 38% from financial institutions managing investment deposits, 7% from the central bank and 7% from the Ministry of Finance.

Financial soundness of the banking sector Domestic banks are required to comply with international prudential standards issued by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), as part of the requirements of the Basel Committee. The lifting of US sanctions has certainly helped improve banking stability indicators, but vulnerabilities persist with several undercapitalized banks. The capital adequacy ratio fell from 16.2% in 2017 to 9.9% in 2018, well below the minimum standard of 12%, compared to a better level of 18.7% in 2016. The non-performing loan ratio decreased from 5.2% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2017, then to 3.2% in 2018; a level compliant with the maximum regulatory threshold of 6%. The ratio of provisions to non-performing loans decreased as well from 81.3% in 2017 to 72.1% in 2018 but remains above the regulatory threshold of 2016 (60%). The liquidity ratio increased from 37.3% in 2017 to 51.6% in 2018, a level in accordance with the standard in force ranging from 30 to 40%. In a nutshell, bank profitability remains positive. The Return on Assets (ROA) increased from 3.8% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018, while the Return on Equity (ROE) almost doubled over the same period, from 48% to 95%.

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion in Sudan remains a real challenge. According to the World Bank's 2014 Global Findex, 15.3% of adults have an account, a level significantly lower than the sub-Saharan average (34.2%). The proportions are lower for savings and borrowing in a formal financial institution, 7.5% and 4.2% respectively. The Sudanese government has launched various initiatives to support financial inclusion, including the introduction of a digital payment system extended to rural areas, a collateral registry and a credit rating agency (CIASA) whose ultimate goal is to provide banks and MFIs with information relating to clients applying for loans. Recently introduced (April 2017), mobile money is also helping to improve financial inclusion. However, financial inclusion efforts remain hampered by the absence of a comprehensive and coherent strategy establishing accurate objectives and raising awareness about the benefits of formal financial services.

The Microfinance Sector

The sector included 38 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 2017 (34 in 2016). The cumulative number of microfinance clients increased from 1.5 million in 2016 to 1.7 million in 2017. A Microfinance Coordinating Council, composed of the Microfinance Unit, the Sudanese Microfinance Development Corporation and the Microfinance Guarantee Agency (TAYSEER), was established as a sector coordination and surveillance body. Several initiatives have been taken to promote the development of the microfinance sector. A law, promulgated in 2016, allows MFIs to accept deposits in rural areas in order to improve their financing capacity. Domestic MFIs have also been associated with a seasonal agriculture finance program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Commercial banks operating in the country are also required to allocate 12% of their total portfolio to lending operations by approved MFIs. In accordance with this policy, financial allocations increased from SDG 9.5 billion (USD 190.9 million) in 2016 to SDG 14.4 billion (USD 290.1 ​​million) in 2017. A financing program for small producers of gum arabic has been initiated, with a financing portfolio amounting to 39 million SDG (786,818.5 USD).

MFIs expansion remains limited in rural areas which constitute around 90% of Sudanese territory. This is partly due to the high risk prevailing in these areas, especially the quite large information asymmetry discouraging banks to invest in these areas. The weakness of road and transport infrastructure also limits access to MFIs for rural populations. Finally, the microcredit products and services offered by MFIs remain little varied.

Digital Finance

Recently, the Sudanese central bank policies have aimed to promote and extend payment systems while developing the domestic financial system by the expansion of digital technologies. Digital payments experienced remarkable dynamism, as did the growth in sales outlets and electronic portfolios, the workforce of which reached 3,905 and 1,483,106 respectively in 2017, compared to 370 and 6,861 respectively in 2013. ATMs number also grew from 903 in 2013 to 1,344 in 2017. Mobile money services, offered by two telecommunications operators (Zain and MTN) and 5 commercial banks, include cash withdrawals and deposits, money transfers, bills payment and purchasing of airtime credit. The use of electronic means of payment for government taxes, through various applications, was approved in 2017. A national mechanism linking payment systems and a government portal for electronic services has been put in place by the National Information Center, which manages digital programs launched by the government.

SME Finance

Although Sudan is one of the first countries in the region to take special government measures to promote SMEs, the SMEs financing remains a critical issue. According to the World Bank, only 4.6% of Sudanese companies benefit from a bank loan or line of credit, a level significantly below the sub-Saharan (21.9%) and lower middle-income countries (30, 5%) averages. This rate is relatively high for large companies (9%), compared to small companies (2.7%) and those of medium size (6.7%). The factors underlying this low level of funding are, among other things, the low level of training, limited experience and expertise of SMEs and banks requirements for collateral.

Insurance Sector

The domestic insurance sector includes a reinsurance company and 14 direct insurance companies, with13 privately owned and one public company. Most of Sudanese insurance companies are active members of the General Arab Insurance Federation, the African Insurance Organization and the Afro-Asian Insurance Federation. Sudan is one of the first countries in Africa to apply Islamic principles in the insurance field. As of December 2017, insurance premiums amounted to SDG 4.99 billion (USD 100.5 million), a 63.2% increase compared to 2016 and the market is quite concentrated with two companies (Shikan Company and Islamic Company) holding 50% of market shares. The automotive sector, representing 55% of total premiums written, remains the largest market for insurance companies. Life insurance only represents 2% of the domestic market.

The insurance sector in Sudan remains narrow and the penetration rate limited (0.6% of GDP in 2017), due to the low average household income and a low rate of financial literacy. The government remains strongly present in the sector, through the public insurance company (Sheikan) alone representing around 32% of the total premiums written. This situation leads to significant competitive biases in the sector. Even if the authorities are trying to improve the regulatory framework, the majority of insurance companies still do not comply with the principles defined by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), due to an absence of total independence of the Insurance Supervisory Agency (ISA) on the national territory. At the top of the sector's organizational structure, the existence of a Supreme Insurance Shariah Supervisory Council makes it difficult to apply international rules and standards. A bill approved in May 2017 by the Sudanese Parliament gives foreign insurance companies the possibility of obtaining a business license, after a long period starting in 1992 and during which foreign shareholding was prohibited in the sector. In addition, several companies do not respect the 15% limit imposed in terms of overhead costs by the control agency. Finally, the sector’s legislative framework remains partially nuanced, in light of tax exemption for insurance companies, an initiative of the Supreme Shariah Supervisory Board based on the Islamic law. This decision, which considers insurance companies as cooperative institutions, is not in accordance with the Corporations act.

Capital Markets

The Sudanese Financial Services Company (SFSC) is responsible for organizing auction sales on the securities market, including Government Musharaka Certificates (GMC or Shahama), Government Investment Certificates (GIC) and other titles. Transactions on GMC dominate the Khartoum Stock Exchange (KSE) and represented around 99.8% of trade in 2016. The number of GMC sold rose from 41,110,428 (for a value of SDG 20.6 billion, or USD 413.2 million) in 2016 at 41,007,023 (for a value of 20.5 billion SDG, or USD 412.1 million) in 2017. Banks held the largest share (47.8% ) of GMC. The general index of the Khartoum stock exchange rose from 3,118.5 points in 2016 to 4,202.4 points, an increase of 34.8%. An electronic transaction system, introduced in March 2016, helps improve the mobilization of domestic resources such as Sukuk, which are long-term securities compliant with the Islamic finance principles, and on which Sudan is heavily dependent for funding social infrastructure and services. The volume of Sukuk transactions on the KSE secondary market increased from 8.6 million in 2016 to 21.1 million, a 143.8% increase. However, the number of contracts executed fell from 41,991 to 37,094.

Furthermore, the absence of an interbank market has favored the persistence of excess reserves in the domestic banking system. An interbank liquidity management fund was created in August 2015 in order to promote interbank activities and reduce excess bank reserves. anks were required to contribute up to SDG 750 million in proportion to the size of their deposits, including 60% of this fund in the form of public securities and 40% in cash. It is a sharia-compliant liquidity management instrument which actually entered into activity in September 2016. Its capital increased in October 2016 to reach SDG 900 million, thanks to the contribution of banks. To cover liquidity shortages, overnight loans can be taken out by banks from this fund, at a rate of 0.1%.

In summary, the Sudanese capital market is still at an embryonic stage. The regulatory framework aiming to boost activities on the Khartoum stock exchange and reinforce the regulator scope was adopted only in 2017. Low liquidity levels, absence of reliable information systems and corporate governance’s issues hamper the stock market development in the country. In 2019, Sudan ranked 41st out of 54 countries (39th in 2016) in the annual ranking of the African bond market development index published by the African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI).

Social Security System

The social security sector includes 2 main schemes covering employees in the formal sector: The National Social Insurance Fund (NSIF) managing workers in the private sector and the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) reserved for civil servants and public sector employees. These two schemes offer long-term benefits (old-age, invalidity and survivors' benefits) commonly known as pension scheme benefits (PSB) and employment injury benefits (EIB). The contribution rate (25%) is the same for both plans. A health insurance fund has also been set up to provide health insurance benefits to civil servants.

Social safety nets are implemented through several methods: (i) unconditional cash transfer programs for identified poor households, based on poverty criteria established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Security (MoWSS) and the Zakat Chamber, (ii) a National Health Insurance Fund (second largest MoWSS program), conditional and contributory, and (iii) social projects intended for specific target groups and meeting the immediate needs of groups vulnerable people such as the homeless and displaced people. Several households suffer from recurrent exclusion errors in the implementation of these programs, which sometimes lack clarity in their operational guidelines. These are particularly those relating to procedures involving the agencies carrying out cash transfers. In addition, these agencies are not subject to external evaluation and real monitoring in the field.

The Social Security Investment Authority (SSIA), created by presidential decree in 2004, aims to manage, by investing in different sectors, the financial surpluses of the main funds (NSIF and PSPF) in order to meet the long term obligations of the sector. The SSIA started its activities in 2005.

Contact Details Information of Banks operating in Gabon







P .O .Box 1263, Khartoum, Sudan, Extension of Gamhouria St, Mogran

(+249) 183777839


Khartoum-Umam Motahida Squar 

(+249) 183774358


Amarat Street, Block 21

(+249) 183-472151


Block 1, Kasr Avenue, Khartoum.
P.O. Box: 1183, Khartoum, Sudan

(+249) 183778154


 P.O. Box 309, Khartoum, Sudan, Baladiya Avenue

(+249) 183782098



 P.O. Box 2415, Khartoum, Sudan, Faiha’a Building, Ali A/Lateef Street

(+249) 183777920


P.O. Box 2775, Khartoum, Sudan, Qasr Avenue

(+249) 183783798


 P.O. Box 984, Khartoum, Sudan, Barlaman Street

(+249) 183776092


P.O. Box 6224, Peoples Assembly Hall, Khartoum, Sudan, Gama’a Avenue

(+249) 183783798


P.O. Box 3154, Khartoum, Sudan, Tadamon Tower, Baladiya Street

(+249) 183781709


P.O. Box 62 Khartoum, Sudan, Isl . Co -op Bank’s Building,

(+249) 183780505


 P.O. Box 3583, Khartoum, Sudan, Baraka Tower, Zubair Pasha Street

(+249) 183785810


P.O. Box 3575, Khartoum, Sudan, Saleh El -Obeid Building, Gamhouria Avenue

(+249) 183777110


 P.O. Box 1773, Khartoum, Sudan, Baladiya Street

(+249) 183780307


P.O. Box 2589, Khartoum, Sudan, Baladiya Street

(+249) 183783216


P.O. Box 10036, Khartoum, Sudan El -Sayed A /Rahman Street

(+249) 183779474


P.O. Box 11984, Khartoum, Sudan, Qasr Avenue

(+249) 183774194


 P.O. Box 11022, Khartoum, Sudan, Zubeir Pasha St . with Qasr Avenue

(+249) 183771431


P.O. Box 8121, Khartoum, Sudan St . No21, Amarat, Khartoum

(+249) 183566444


P.O. Box 139 Khartoum, Sudan Mamoun Elberair Building Gama’a Avenue

(+249) 183747000


P.O. Box 154 Khartoum, Sudan Alsalam Rotana Hotel

(+249) 183745583


 P.O. Box 8210 Khartoum, Sudan Obaid Khatim St, Khartoum East

(+249) 183247700


P.O. Box 424, Khartoum, Sudan, Cross of Qasr Avenue with Zubeir Pasha St.

(+249) 183741531


Khartoum - Northwest Farouq Cemeteries

(+249) 183489811


P.O. Box 12046, El-Manar Building, El -Sayed A /Rahman Street

(+249) 183783850


P.O. Box 2465, Khartoum, Sudan Atbara Street

(+249) 183774857


Khartoum, Sudan, St . No . 9, Amarat, Khartoum

(+249) 183480000


Dar Nizar Building, P.O. Box 955

(+249) 156550001


P.O. Box 7641, Khartoum, Sudan, St. No. 49, Amarat, Khartoum

(+249) 1870230



P.O. Box 1722, Khartoum, Sudan, South of United Nations Square

(+249) 183781507



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At a Glance

At a Glance Source
Population in thousands (2019): 42,813.23
GDP per capita (current US$) 2019 - World Average 10,721.61: 441.50
Account (%) age 15+) - (2014 vs 2017): 15% (2014)
Agriculture Orientation Index - Credit ( Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries share of GDP) (2015 vs 2016): 0.49 | 0.56
Financial Inclusion Strategies: n/a
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP) 2017: 23.33
Made or received digital payments in the past year (% age 15+) (2014 vs 2017): 12% (2014)
Remittances % of GDP for 2018: 0.001
Mortgage Interest Rate / Mortgage Term (years): 14% | 10

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