What significance does China-Africa relations have on the people of South Sudan?

By Tapeng Michael Ohure

Many will agree that China’s significant presence in the African nations has a lot of positive impacts. This includes investing in many projects across the continent.

China is the biggest investor in Africa and a leading trading partner. It is Africa’s largest creditor too. This year China donated 12 million doses of covid-19 vaccines to Africa in an effort to fight the pandemic.

According to a media report published in November 2021, Afrobarometer states 63% of Africans believe China has had a positive influence in their country.

This week, China and African leaders are concluding talks in Senegal on a way to maintain mutual cooperation with African nations.

China-South Sudan relations

In South Sudan today, many South Sudanese have witnessed the dividends of the cooperation Beijing has with the people of the Republic of South Sudan.

China is supporting a lot of projects in South Sudan, Juba International Airport, many activities in Juba, our security arrangements, the cantonment sites China has helped even recently with the issues of floods, China gave support of 15 thousand metric tonnes of rice, China is also supporting the displaced people.” Said Deng Dau Deng, South Sudan’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister.

Every year, China is offering scholarships in various fields to students from South Sudan in a bid to develop the capacity of the South Sudanese people.

Gatwech Koak Nyuon, Secretary General, Jonglei State studied in China he says South Sudan can learn a lot from China since China is also a developing country.

“In 1940s China was very poor but it has managed to develop and it’s the now the second largest economy in the world, we can learn from China.” Said Gatwech.

Beijing has also done several projects to the people of South Sudan through its Embassy in Juba. This ranges from building Juba Teaching Hospital to a modern hospital costing $33 million dollars. This is in addition to Kiir Hospital in Rumbek.

According to AIDATA, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce provided a $6 million USD grant to the Government of South Sudan for the construction of the Kiir Maryardit Women Hospital in Rumbek in 2008. On 5 July 2019, China added dormitories to the same hospital.

China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company (CJIC) was the implementing contract. Works began on 31 March 2012. The project passed acceptance on 10 October 2013. This 3,700 square meter hospital is located in Rumbek. Rumbek was originally located in Sudan but it became part of South Sudan after the country gained independence in 2011.

China is also a big oil investor in the Republic of South Sudan employing thousands of South Sudanese in the oil industry.

South Sudan’s government depends on oil money to fund 98 percent of its budget, Chinese companies continued to operate in the oilfields in South Sudan even during the six years of conflict in the East African country.

That operation provided the much needed funds to keep South Sudan’s economy afloat.

CARI DATA 

In 2019, the gross annual revenues of Chinese companies’ engineering and construction projects in Africa totaled US$46 billion, a 6% decrease from 2018. Africa made up 26.6% of global revenues for these companies, down from the peak year (2010) when Africa, including Libya, accounted for 38.9%.

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