Sudan and the US signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to clear $1 billion of Sudan’s arrears to the World Bank.

The signing came during a brief visit by US Secretary of Treasury Steven Munich to Khartoum, the first by a US official to Sudan in more than two decades. It also came one month after Washington removed Sudan from its list of a state sponsor of terrorism.

Under the MoU, the US will pay $1 billion to the World Bank to help clear Sudan’s debts, the Sudanese Finance Ministry said in a statement.

“This move will enable Sudan to regain access to over $1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years,” the ministry said.

Sudan’s presence on the US list of a state sponsor of terrorism had cut it off from obtaining much-needed financial aid and foreign investment in the midst of an economic crisis.

Regaining Sudan’s access to the World Bank financing is considered a major accomplishment by the Sudanese transitional government and an important milestone on the country’s path towards debt relief.

International financing will help the government’s efforts to carry out major infrastructure and other development projects throughout the country.

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