Foreign Policy, in an article by UN expert Justin Lynch, blamed the West for Sudan’s “failed” democratic transition.
According to Lynch, the United Nations, the US, and the West in general were behind the failure of the transitional government in Sudan.
Lynch said that the overthrow of ousted President Omar al-Bashir was a historic opportunity for the United States, the United Nations and the international community to transform dictatorship into democracy following Sudan’s revolution.
To make the transition work, the United States pledged $700 million in addition to about $600 million in annual assistance.
Lynch added that when aid came to Sudan, “it wasn’t done right.”
The Foreign Policy report added that despite USAID pledging $700 million, and about $600 million annually, and along with a similar aid package, from Western countries amounting to more than $1 billion, these funds did not address the basic root causes of violence and corruption, and supported many “individual interests” programs at the expense of what former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok needed.
Humanitarian officials at embassies across Khartoum have admitted that did not know how to spend their money in the Justin Lynch report.
The UN expert stated that Hamdok hinted several times at him not having “the strength to confront the army and intelligence services that benefited from corruption”, and that UN officials reported that they were threatened with losing their work if they had made those issues public.
In his article, Lynch also reported that a group of women had told him during his visit to conflict areas in Sudan that they were forced to engage in sex-for-favors dealings with government-appointed community leaders in order to be eligible for aid.
The United Nations had set up a mission to support the elections (UNITAMS), while French leader Emmanuel Macron convened a high-level international donors’ conference to support the civilian government.
Less than a year later, the democratic efforts in Sudan were eliminated after a military coup against the civilian Prime Minister and his cabinet in October 2021.
In Lynch’s view, there was an opportunity for reform that was missed by technocrats, Western countries, and foreign institutions that wanted to support democracy, and that the international community’s record in post-revolution Sudan clearly demonstrates how limited the role of foreign aid was, as well as the self-deception and global neglect that led to Sudan’s failure.
The Foreign Policy reports also stated that the lessons learned from the international community’s help for Sudan were important for “pro-democracy advocates who want to do a better job of supporting transitions to democracy”, and that these advocates “should learn from the failed transition in Khartoum.”