By: Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed El-Badawi
The reputable Sudanese international economist Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Badawi (who later was appointed Finance Minister in the present Transitional Government) he has written a very important paper (Freedom, Peace and Justice: The Foundation of the Revolution Economic Policy. The first draft of this paper is accomplished in April 2019. It has been revised and modified in the first week of July, 2019.
The paper is based on the concept of formulating the December, 2018 Revolution (Freedom, Peace and Justice) as the foundation for the December Revolution Economic Program. This program legitimacy should depend on been endorsed by the December revolution masses and political elite who supported he revolution and are with the change for a development that will lead the country to the gates of the Twenty First Century.
At the same time, revolutionary legitimacy need consensus on documented programs that can be monitored, evaluated and accessed during the Transitional Period or the electoral legitimacy after.
We have before focused very briefly on this 40 pages document but after the reaction from many experts and economist who have in a very logical method pointed to some shortcomings in the paper decided to first review the paper in more detail and then look at these remarks in the same way.
The paper author and Minister of Finance have been generous and shared with us his paper so we are publishing the whole text and then the floor is open for any comments and remarks.
Summary / Abstract
This study inspires its vision and methodology from the iconic slogan of the Sudanese December Revolution (Freedom, Peace and Justice …the Revolution is the Choice of the People) and the possibility of its embodiment as a reference to the eventual economic program of the Revolution. Therefore, it arises many axial questions regarding the notional aspects of this slogan at the conceptual and political economic programs levels. Our argument is that such a program needs to adopt the economic legitimacy as an obliging merit for both governing and opposition elites in Sudan after the December 2018 Revolution. Consequently, the revolutionary legitimacy is no more sufficient in such a period of transitional authority or even in the era of the forthcoming elected government. Based on this principle, this paper proposes a ten years development program (2020 – 2030) including three successive axes beginning with a 200 days corrective program to stabilize the macro economy, restructuring of the budget, prosecution of corruption, and the liquidation of illegal capital accumulation of the Inqaz parasitic class within system of the applicable legislations. It is followed by the ten-year economic plan for sustainable growth and structural transformations of the economy. Then follows the ten years strategy to alleviate poverty and achieve the objectives of the Minimum Universal Sustainable Development.
The desired program aims to achieve rapid and sustainable growth in the context of a tight program of structural transformation of the economy which will contribute to peace-building and the provision of equal opportunities for liberation from the burden of poverty and marginalization. The program aims to achieve an average annual growth at a rate of 10%, during the first decade of the revolution of December, resulting in a doubling of the GDP by nearly three times, broad-based growth that could reduce the poverty rate by about 70% and achieve most of the other Universal Sustainable Development goals by 2030, in addition to profound structural transformations to modernize the Sudanese economy, based on young, high-productivity employment with multiple sectors and geographic growth poles. The success of this ambitious program will depend on the ability of the people of Sudan to build on the rich social capital created by this glorious Revolution and the growing faith in and belonging to this country, especially among the young generation which constitutes the vast majority of the population, to head towards a new social balance in which the people of Sudan agree in a meaningful and transparent social dialogue on a comprehensive “social contract” that defines the concept of “economic legitimacy” that we recommend to be included in the Constitutional Declaration, and finally, in the Permanent Constitution of the country in order to provide the legal and institutional bases for the merits of political economy, necessary for the implementation of this axial national program seeking to achieve the objectives of the great Sudanese December Revolution.
1.This iconic slogan is issue of the guanine thought of the courageous youth revolutionaries. It is an exceptional slogan as this Sudanese generation that ignited the glorious December Revolution, giving wonderful epics of creativity and heroic deeds. Before entering to the depths of my research, I would like to present a deep description of this generation and the significance of this unique Revolution as written by the judicious journalist Ustaz Khalid El-Tijani (Ilaf Newspaper, the 16th of January 2019):
(I dare say that I stopped writing since the beginning of this popular movement as I was astonished by the great social change that witnesses the Sudan. Its interactions are still going on. I stopped to give myself the opportunity of contemplating and reading those evolutions in a profound way that exceeds blahs, hasty reactions and superficial dealing which characterized the behavior of the parties of the old Sudanese political regime and its fossilized political class, in its reaction regarding this movement which surprised all of us. No doubt, we are facing an exceptional moment in the History of Sudan. No one can decipher this movement and understand its logic and dynamics without engaging deep dialogues with new generation, both male and female who are in the heart of this great national event. One will discover that it is deeper than transient protests or material low roofed demands. Perhaps the most exact diagnosis of this situation is what I heard in the discussion with some of these young people who summarized in a very significant sentence defining the dimension and significance of the current changes when they said (we are not in a wave of anger which can fade with time. We are in a Revolution of consciousness which grows and doesn’t fade with time). What logic and what consciousness!)
As for Mohamed El-Mekki Ibrahim, great Sudanese poet of October 1964, he will surely be proud and full of justified jazziness when he discovers that the current generation has revived the poems he wrote half a century ago, renewed their wonderful splendor, as they were when he wrote the, or maybe, more brighter.
Who else than us can give this People, the sense of Life and Victory,
Who else could decide History fate? The new values, and the destiny,
The generation full of audacity and courage, sticking to principles with faith, heading to the skies, to choose their highest for our people, It is My generation
Now, the generation of the great Glorious December Revolution is embodied its revolutionary action in poesy, painting, and melodies, in an easy and abstaining style. Dr Mohamed El-Karib wrote a poem titled (I love my Sudan … the Revolution is my identity). It is poem matching with the text of an everlasting traditional Sudanese song. It attracted the Sudanese singer Hind El-Taher, the artist if the Revolution, to sing it in a magnificent melody full of profound patriotic meanings. The song honored the revolting Sudanese cities, preventing against the anger of the People, praised its attitude in supporting its cause, called to the national unity of the country, assured the nationality of the homeland and the glory of its Youth who has really taken in hand the fate of their county and Revolution.
I have contemplated the meaning of this iconic slogan and thought about it as a referential source a philosophy for the Sudanese economy in the victorious era of the Sudanese Revolution. I analyzed its words and its substantive content from the point of view of the principles of economy, the heritage and theoretical and political literature of development. I concluded that three main questions are to be tackled and answered:
Is the slogan, with its four components (Freedom, Peace, Justice, and Revolution) is a reliable framework of scientific ethical value for an economic development program of the Revolution.
Why did the Revolution become a firm choice for the People, as shown in its most famous slogan? What are the consequences of this milestone choice on the nature of the thinking appropriate economic methodology to achieve the goals of the Revolution?
What are the major aspects of the economic renaissance program, necessary to accomplish the tasks and objectives included in the slogan (Freedom, Peace, and Justice).
First: the Slogan of the Revolution as reference to elaborate an Economic Renaissance Program
The direct concept of freedom remains, as a very obvious matter, linked to political and personal freedoms, which are undoubtedly the basic building block of the freedom and dignity the People in its homeland. Nevertheless, freedom in this sense remains incomplete if “economic freedom” is not included as a focal component of the concept of freedom.
But, what is the concept of economic freedom?
Economic freedom, as defined by Amartya Kumar Sen, Professor of Economy and Philosophy at the American Harvard University, awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 1998, for his distinguished contribution in the researches in Social Welfare Economy, is (Individuals and communities having the ability to education, rehabilitation and equal opportunities that enable them to be free from ignorance, disease and marginalization. These negative factors necessarily reduce their choices to achieve social progress that provides them with the dignity, social and material well-being they deserve as citizens and members of the community). His important book “Development as Freedom”, published in 1999, established the bases of a progressive vision which added a structural economic component to the concept of freedom with an integral connection to economic development as a method and as political programs.
The successive governments of Inqaz and its ruling political party launched, in the three last decades, many programs and plans presented as a long-term development vision. The most important of them, probably, is the Quarterly Century Strategy. Nevertheless, a quick glance to the successive budgets will show that there was no development vision seeking to build a strong national economy, achieve a broad based growth, and a sustainable social justice enabling the citizen to practice his deserved economic freedom.
The budget of both education and healthcare was limited to only 10% of the overall budget, all through the rule of the Inqaz, including the oil era. This has disastrous well-known effects on the present and future of the country.
The budgeting of agriculture and industry was less than 10% in the successive budgets. This entailed the severe structural economic crisis that hit the Sudanese economy.
In contrast, emerging African countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia have allocated about 35% of their budgets for education and health, while Ethiopia has outstripped its interest in agriculture. The share of the agricultural sector in its budget last year reached about 12%, which led the World FAO to pay praise it and state that it has exceeded the 10% threshold recommended by the Organization for low-income African countries.