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China commits $88 million in loans, grants to Sudan

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 2, 2018. (Photo Xinhua).
September 2, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to support Sudan to overcome its economic woes announcing his country would provide a 400 mln Yuan grant and a 200 mln Yuan interest-free loan to the East African nation.

The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has arrived in Beijing on Saturday to participate in the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC). During his meeting with al-Bashir on Sunday, Xi Jinping said his country appreciates the harsh economic conditions that Sudan continued to suffer since the secession of South Sudan.

“China would cooperate with Sudan to overcome these difficulties and challenges,” said Xi Jinping according to the official news agency SUNA He pointed out that they would consider extending the grace period on China’s debt to Sudan, saying his government is keen to remove obstacles and create favourable conditions for cooperation between the two countries.

Beijing has complained recently over Sudan’s debt arrears that resulted from Khartoum’s purchase of China’s share of oil produced to cover domestic consumption.

The Chinese President said oil constitutes the backbone for cooperation between the two countries, stressing keenness to promote bilateral relations with Sudan.

China has been Sudan’s largest foreign investor, particularly in oil and telecommunications after western firms shunned the East African nation due to conflicts and sanctions.

It has invested more than $20 billion in Sudan mostly in the oil sector during the past two decades. Beijing provides low-interest loans and weapons transfers in return for oil.

Sudan hopes to attract new Chinese investments after Beijing had refrained from implementing a number of projects agreed with Khartoum following the latter’s failure to settle its debts.

Sudan’s total debt to China is estimated at $10 billion, accounting for about one-fifth of Sudan’s estimated $53 billion foreign debt.

(ST)