Sudan seeks additional delay for its debts to China

By ST

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KHARTOUM – Sudanese Finance Minister Mohammad Osman al-Rikabi will start a visit to China next Sunday in a bid to renegotiate additional delay for Sudan’s debt and to attract funding for development projects.

Sudan’s total debt is estimated at $ 10 billion, accounting for about one-fifth of Sudan’s estimated $ 50 billion foreign debt.

In February 2012, China agreed to delay its debts for a period of five years. At the time, said it needs time to rebuild its economy after losing oil revenues as the result of South Sudan cession in July 2011.

During a visit to Khartoum in August 2017, the Chinese Vice-Premier of the State Council Zhang Gaoli announced a debt relief for Sudan worth $160 million, adding that his country would provide additional 500 million Yuan (about $75 million) in financial assistance to Sudan.

Minister of State for Finance Abdel Rahman Dirar said that the visit of the Minister of Finance “comes within the framework of continuing Khartoum’s openness to outside world, especially the Asian countries”.

He added that the visit aims to “attract more funding for development projects and discuss the treatment of Sudan’s debt to China”.

He pointed that the government has set a program in its 2018 budget to attract funds for development projects, especially in the fields of agriculture, industry and oil.

China has stopped several infrastructure projects in Sudan including new Khartoum airport which the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to finance during his visit to Sudan last December.

Last October, the U.S. administration revoked the 20-year economic sanctions on Sudan a measure that encourages foreign investors to work in Sudan but its inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism prevents debt relief and international economic aid to the east African country.