The Man with the Plan
In December of 2019, as the newly appointed Prime Minister of the Sudanese government of transition headed for Washington DC, Cameron Hudson of the Atlantic Council wrote: “Hamdok is clearly the man of the hour. His friendly manner, sterling credentials, and unsullied reputation have made him a breath of fresh air both in international circles and among his people, who have longed to live free. His challenges are many and his means of addressing them are limited. But at long last, Sudan has a fighting chance to move forward”. Africa’s leading Pan African Magazine New African designated Abdalla Hamdok one of the one hundred most influential Africans. Abdalla Hamdok is my profile of the week.
Hamdok, holds a PhD and MA in Economics from the School of Economic Studies at the University of Manchester, U.K. and earlier graduated from the University of Khartoum.
He is Sudan’s first civilian prime minister since military officer Omar Al-Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989, toppling elected Prime Minister Alsadig Almahdi and ruling the country for 30 years. Hamdok, who was then working in the finance ministry, was sacked from his position because he was not affiliated with al-Bashir’s Islamic movement. He also turned down al-Bashir’s invitation to head the ministry in 2017.
Hamdok previously worked as principal policy economist for the African Development Bank and was chief economist for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). He also served as director for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an economic development program of the African Union, and regional director for Africa and the Middle East at International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization that works to support and strengthen democratic institutions and processes around the world.
He also has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of public sector reforms, governance, regional integration and resource management in many African countries including Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Following the toppling of Omar Al-Bashir in April, Hamdok who hadn’t been allowed back to Sudan for over forty years, was elected as the country’s civilian leader.
The 65-year-old economist, who lived in Manchester for nine years, took office on August 21, 2019 and is the biggest hope among the Sudanese that he will turn around the country’s precarious economy.
Prime Minister Hamdok moved to Manchester in 1978 and studied at the university’s Faculty of Economics, where he completed a Masters degree and PHD in Economics and Socialist studies. He met and married his wife Muna.
During the SDGC/A conference entitled: Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education was held at Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali from 5th to 6th July 2017. Dr Hamdok made clear that He strongly believes that a developed Africa can only happen through a democratic developmental state (characterised by strong state intervention as well as extensive regulation and planning) that endeavours to strengthen state institutions capacity to undertake dynamic long term planning perspectives. He acknowledges the fact that this is dependent upon the leadership which must be visionary committed demanding and entrepreneurial. Such a leader must necessarily be able to put the interests of the country first. The conference created a coalition of African intellectuals that brainstormed and held principal discussions on practical actions, explore solutions and build consensual approaches on the major themes relevant to SDG implementation in tertiary education and research throughout Africa.
In March 2020 just less that a year after he had been sworn-in there was an attempt on the life of PM Abdallah Hamdok. He was quick to reassure his people by stating that the attempt had only fortified his determination to carry out his mission.
During his time at the ECA Dr. Hamdok was one of the main architects of the linkage that was done between illicit financial flows from Africa and the financing of Africa’s development. The High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa was instituted with the Former President of South Africa as its Chair. The Report by this High-Level Panel today is the authority on Illicit Financial flows from the continent.
Most international observers agree that the challenges Sudan faces on all fronts are huge and demanding and compounded by the fact that transition has to be managed in the same process. The same observers agree however that if there is one person tailor-made for the job, it is Dr. Abdalla Hamdok. The Man with the Plan.