Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, is not a place that features much in conversations about investing in Africa. Despite having a population of almost 40m, significant natural resources and Africa's fifth-largest economy, the country attracted just $1bn of investment in 2016, down from an equally unimpressive high of $2bn in 2012.
For decades Sudan was known primarily for the long-running conflict between the north and the south of the country, which culminated in the 2011 secession of South Sudan. The country's president, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
It is hardly the CV of a country ready for international investment, but things are changing. Last October the US lifted an economic embargo on the country after 20 years, citing improvements in combating terror and addressing human rights issues.
Since then Khartoum has been actively trying to shed its reputation as an international pariah. In March the government announced it would open its uranium industry to investment, and has been courting the likes of Russia to help develop the sector.
Since then the government has announced plans to issue a $1bn sukuk this year, quadruple trade with Turkey to $2bn, and boost ties with the Gulf states, including the UAE, one of its main economic partners. In March the country inked a $4bn deal with Qatar to revamp the Ottoman-era port of Suakin.
There is even talk of engaging with investors from the West, which has long had fraught relations with Sudan. The UK-Sudan Trade...