The deal was made public after South Sudan President Salva Kiir returned from his diplomatic trip to Beijing. South Sudan and Sudan recently engaged in an intense battle over the oil-rich border town of Heglig. China imports much of its oil from both nations and wants to enjoy good relations between both capitals, Juba in the south and Khartoum in the north.
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South Sudan, at least officially, views China’s role as that of an ally committed to seeing its young nation prosper.
Watch A Report On China’s Role In The South Sudan-Sudan Conflict
The BBC has more:
South Sudan Information Minister Barnaba Mariel Benjamin told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that the Chinese wanted to help develop the country.
“There are no strings attached to it,” he said.
“You know we are beginning from zero but we have enormous resources. At least [if] the resources are developed, I’m sure it will be for the benefit of the people of South Sudan, and the region and internationally.”
The Chinese funding would be provided over the coming two years, and projects would be conducted by Chinese firms.
In January, South Sudan shut down oil production, which provides 98% of its revenue, after Khartoum impounded South Sudanese oil shipments amid a dispute over transit fees.
It currently relies on pipelines to seaports in Sudan to export the oil. It is proposing a new pipeline that would take oil to an Indian Ocean port rather than north to Sudan.
This move comes as critics are growing weary of China’s role on the continent. One report claims that China is becoming a major arms supplier to African states. Though another view suggests that China may be a more vital trading partner to the continent than the United States.
While many see China as a mere post-colonial actor from the East lurking to suck Africa dry of its resources, it may not be as cut and dry as it seems on the surface.