Ambassador; Mubarak Mahgoub Musa
The participation of the President of the Republic in the FOCAC Beijing Summit reflects in one hand, Sudanese political will and sincere desire to further develop relations with China, and likewise a good opportunity to revitalize the strategic partnership signed in 2015, and Sudan’s advanced role in the partnership between China and the African continent in all fields.
The relations between Sudan and China continue to move rapidly at all levels. Sudan sees China as a reliable partner, as much as Beijing continues to see Sudan’s untapped economic resources as an attractive opportunity for Chinese investments.
Harmonizing its Belt and Road Initiative with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, as well as the development strategies of individual African countries, China continues to maintain its position as Africa’s largest trading partner for the nine consecutive years, China’ trading volume amounted to USD 170 billion last year, up from over only USD 10 billion in 2000.
On his part, exploring new opportunities and inject new impetus for Africa’s development, Sudan foreign minister Dr. Al-Dirdiri, has indicated that the relationship between Africa and China is growing stronger day by day. Dr. Al-Dirdiri described the relationship as a model of the relationship between the countries of the South, as well as among the developing countries, based on mutual respect and interests and non interference in the domestic affairs.
On the sideline talks with the President of the Republic, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has expressed gratefulness for Sudan’s support for the Belt and Road initiative, with the aim of increasing global connectivity through infrastructure, and which celebrates this year its fifth anniversary. In this context perhaps the mega project that was celebrated and signed yesterday under the umbrella of this promising initiative was the continental railway line linking Port Sudan and Chadian capital N’Djamena. It should be noted that, two Chinese companies have already completed feasibility study of this 3400km railway linking the Red Sea with and land-locked Chad.
Furthermore, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for further boosting of energy cooperation between the two countries. To that effect, Sudan’s oil minister has announced an agreement with China National Oil Company, to increase the production in a number of Sudanese oil fields, carrying out exploratory studies of new fields, besides the production of natural gas to produce electricity and gas-condensate for other uses.
Referring to Sudan as influential country in Africa and the Arab world, President Xi reiterated China’s firm support to Sudan’s sovereignty, security and stability, adding that the pragmatic cooperation between China and Sudan has played an important part in promoting the economic development of both countries and stands as a fine example of South-South cooperation.
Stressing that China would cooperate with Sudan, to overcome the current economic difficulties and challenges. President Xi Jinping promptly followed word by action, announcing that his country would provide a 400 million Yuan grant and a 200 million Yuan interest-free loan to Sudan.
On the other hand, Xi Jinping further commended Sudan’s efforts, in forging a final peace deal in South Sudan, reiterating China’s desire to work with Sudan, to make an active contribution to peace and stability in South Sudan. Both Sudan and China are looking forward to reap the dividends of reconciliation and stability in South Sudan.
In fact Khartoum’s brokered peace agreement in South Sudan opens the door wide-open for the resumption of the Chinese giant and promising investment in the war torn country. It’s not a secret that Chinese companies, control large proportions of the oil sector’s concessions in South Sudan and is still looking for more concessions in field that have not yet entered the production map.
Taking into account the how crucially important is oil revenues in the rebuilding and rehabilitation process of the war torn youngest nation at this stage, China’s economic and diplomatic influence with the help of the Sudan, remains crucial to sustain peace and stability in South Sudan.
Likewise, FOCAC presented a good opportunity to further cement Khartoum’s mediated peace roadmap for South Sudan, to that effect, a mini –summit of heads of state of IGAD has been convened on the sidelines of FOCAC, to discuss Khartoum peace agreements and approve the signing date and venue of the peace agreement that was initialed in Khartoum last week.
Both countries look forward to a “promising future” full of projects, particularly infrastructure, roads and energy. In fact the very participation of the President of the Republic, in the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, stresses the importance of strategic partnerships with China in all fields. Therefore and after signing ceremony yesterday of a number of agreements between the Sudanese ministries and institutions and their Chinese counterparts in a large number of economic fields, China’s investment in Sudan is expected to rise in other vital areas besides oil, especially in mining, agriculture, livestock, free zones and other areas.
To end on a happier note, heartfelt congratulations should be extended over the selection of Ambassador Rahmtaullah Mohamed Othman, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the Permanent Representative of the African Union to China, residing in Beijing. By the same token, The League of Arab States has likewise named early this year, another Sudanese Ambassador, Mahmoud Hassan Al-amin, as the Permanent Representative of the Arab League to China, residing in Beijing. Such choice besides being a source of honor for Sudanese diplomacy, such Arab-African spontaneous unanimity reflects their inner confidence, in the specificity of Sudan-China relations.