Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sanctions on Sudan...

...and what they mean to me.

Although this is just a tiny, insignificant portion of the whole sanctions issue, its interesting to think about how it affects the individuals within a country.

So, I was reading the internets, when I found this post on Rabbitch, which I followed to this post, and I thought, "I have to spare some cash for that!" So I clicked on the Paypal button, forgetting for a moment that I would soon see this:

Error 3028. You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. Per international sanctions regulations, you are not authorized to access the PayPal system. For more information about your PayPal account status, contact

(Except in a box with a pretty graphic, I couldn't figure out how to take a screenshot, not that I spent much time trying.)

Luckily (at least from the perspective of providing funds for Phoebe), I can access PayPal from work, as the internet seems to believe that I'm no longer in Sudan at that point, but most people don't have that option. Now it may seem kind of trivial, the lack of PayPal, but the same thing happens whenever I try to use a credit card on-line. You cannot use a credit card in Sudan, not even to purchase a plane ticket or pay for a hotel room (yet there are several hotels where rooms cost in the 200USD-
a-night-and-above price range, which is astounding on many levels). There are bank machines, but you can only use them if you happen to have an account at that particular bank. And my bank in Canada cannot transfer funds to a bank account in Sudan (which is kind of inconvenient, since I still get paid in Canada). It brings the idea of a cash economy to a whole new level.

Anyway, just some food for thought today.

ETA I'm not saying I don't think the sanctions should be there, I'm just letting people know how it affects individuals living here, not just the officials/companies targeted by the sanctions.

This is a good overview, if a bit dated. The effects of the sanctions are being felt more now, as evidenced by Sudan's efforts to begin holding its reserves in Euros.

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