China offers South Sudan $8 billion in development funds

April 29, 2012


China offers South Sudan $8 billion in development funds


JUBA – China has offered South Sudan $8 billion in development funds for road, hydropower, infrastructure and agriculture projects, South Sudan’s information minister told Reuters on Saturday.

The loan came after South Sudan President Salva Kiir visited Beijing to secure support from China, which has major oil interests in both South Sudan and its northern neighbor Sudan.

A long-brewing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan over oil export fees, border demarcation and citizenship has halted nearly all oil production in the two countries, who sit atop one of Africa’s most significant oil resources.

South Sudan depends on oil for nearly 98 percent of its state revenue and the shutdown has puts its economy under pressure.

“China has offered financial funding to the value of $8 billion for major development projects,” Information Minister Barnaba Benjamin said.

The funds will be provided over the next two years and the projects will be conducted by Chinese companies, Benjamin said.

China is already the biggest investor in oilfields in South Sudan, through state-owned Chinese oil giants China National Petroleum Corp and Sinopec.

The Asian economic powerhouse has had to play a delicate balancing act with the two countries, since Beijing is also one of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s major supporters.

When landlocked South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year, it took three-quarters of the region’s production, while the pipelines to export the oil are mostly in Sudan.

South Sudan is considering building two alternative pipelines, one to a port in Kenya and another through Ethiopia and Djibouti.

(Reporting by Yara Bayoumy Editing by Maria Golovnina)


Chinese President Hu Jintao (C-R) and South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C-L), seen here attending a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on April 24. China has agreed to loan oil-rich South Sudan eight billion dollars for infrastructure development, Juba government spokesman confirmed on Saturday.


South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, right, reviews honor guard with Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)


South Sudan

Once a collection of independent Nubian kingdoms and the Kingdom of Kush, Northern Sudan was taken by Egypt in 1821 and Southern Sudan by the British in 1877. The British invaded Egypt in 1882.

In 1896 Belgians claimed portions of southern Sudan known as the Lado Enclave as part of the Belgian Congo. In 1909 the Lado Enclave was turned over to the United Kingdom from Belgium after the death of King Léopold II. In 1899 France ceded its land to the British. The United Kingdom and Egypt administered all of present day Sudan as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in 1898. Northern Sudan and southern Sudan were administered as separate provinces.  The 1899 British-Egyptian agreement restored Egyptian rule in Sudan. It designated territory south of the 22nd parallel as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

In the south, English and the native laguages of:Dinka, Bari, Nuer, Latuko, Shilluk, Azande and Pari/Lafon were official languages. In the north Arabic and English were used as official languages.

January 1, 1956, Sudan became an independent republic from the British and Egyptians after its declaration of independence was unanimously adopted December 19, 1955.

Muslims have dominated national government institutions since independence in 1956 as Islam is the largest religion in Sudan.

Islam was discouraged by the British in the south, where European Christian missionaries were permitted to work. The British wanted to add south Sudan to their East African colonies, such as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The British developed the economy and infrastructure in northern Sudan.

As the British prepared Sudan to become independent they focused on northern Sudan to govern and use Arabic as the new language for the government. The British trained the southern politicians to speak in English. When the British left only 8 out of over 800 government positions were given to those from the southern part of Sudan.

The First Sudanese Civil War lasted from 1956–1969 and the Second Sudanese Civil War lasted from 1983 until  January 9, 2005.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.

As of Saturday, April 28, 2012 after more than 3 weeks of border fighting between Sudan and South Sudan has brought the African neighbors close to an all-out war, only 9 months after the South split from the north.

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