China, Sudan expect greater opportunities for reciprocal growth

By Ma Xinmin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/2 17:38:40

Chinese experts communicate with local medical workers at a hospital in Khartoum, Sudan, on June 2. The Chinese medical team arrived in Khartoum on May 28 from Algeria after ending its two-week anti-coronavirus mission there. Photo: Xinhua

The area along the ancient Silk Road was once "a land of milk and honey." More than 600 years ago, the renowned Chinese navigator Zheng He made seven voyages to the West by sea, marking a glorious chapter in the maritime Silk Road. The Sawakin Harbour in Sudan became the rendezvous point for ancient Chinese caravans to the northeast of Africa, connecting the destinies of Sudan and the Chinese people.

Today, China and Sudan stand at a new historical juncture. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become a new link between the two countries, leading China-Sudan cooperation on a new journey.

After seven years of unremitting efforts, the foundation of the Belt and Road has been completed and the new stage of promotion, expansion and delivering results has begun. 

Sudan was one of the first countries to actively respond to the BRI and sign the agreement on jointly promoting the initiative with China. The China-Sudan cooperation has long been a benchmark for China-Africa cooperation and a model for South-South Cooperation.

China has maintained the status of being the largest trading partner of Sudan for many years in a row, and practical cooperation in various fields has been moving steadily in the right direction. The leaders of the two countries have had frequent interactions and deepened political mutual trust. Economic and trade cooperation has continued to expand, and cooperation across the industrial chain has yielded remarkable results. 

Meanwhile, medical assistance has been passed on, and there are many highlights in health cooperation. People-to-people and cultural exchanges have also continued, bringing the two peoples even closer.

As a close friend of Sudan, China has always put righteousness first by aligning the BRI with Sudan's national development strategy, to seek mutual benefit and win-win results. In 2019, Sudan went through major changes unseen in 30 years, and the country experienced severe challenges as a result of political and economic transformation. The once-in-a-century pandemic and record-breaking floods have further aggravated the difficulties of the transitional government.

The Sudanese people, seeking transformation after great changes, are eager for China to lend a helping hand again. This is not just a short-term helping hand — through Belt and Road, Sudan can improve its domestic development capacity and paint a beautiful picture of the Sino-Sudan cooperation in the new era.

In the post-pandemic era, China will boost the new cooperation by taking common interest as a bridge and resources cooperation as the center, to promote collaboration on infrastructure construction and healthcare, along with agriculture, mining and ports. We will drive the BRI deeper and make it more tangible, and turn the Belt and Road into a route of development, cooperation and health that will benefit the people of Sudan.

Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Sudan

Resource advantages

Sudan is rich in natural resources, and energy mining, agriculture and animal husbandry are its two pillar industries. 

Through practical cooperation, China is ready to further upgrade the "black industrial chain" of oil, extend the "white industrial chain" of cotton and build a "green industrial chain" of animal husbandry, and take the improvement of the three industrial chains as the engine to boost the internal driving force of Sudan's economy.

Promoting infrastructure 

We will continue to take an active part in Sudan's infrastructure development, promote key projects such as the new Khartoum International Airport and satellite navigation, deepen cooperation in health education, information technology and transportation infrastructure, and work to make the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Sudan more high-quality, sustainable and beneficial to the people.

Guided by the Beidou navigation system for China and for the world, China is ready to help Sudan improve the output and quality of agriculture and animal husbandry through real-time navigation and disaster early warning services in a bid to realize "smart agriculture," and help Sudan achieve economic transformation and modernization.

File photo of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan Photo: Xinhua

Strengthening healthcare

Through their joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, China-Sudan health cooperation has gradually transformed from traditional clinical medical assistance to public health system construction.

In the future, China will deepen health cooperation between the two countries by implementing the global anti-epidemic cooperation initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, strengthening the health action plan under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and deepening bilateral medical cooperation. 

We need to strengthen cooperation in public health governance, capacity building and medical infrastructure to help Sudan improve its capacity to prevent diseases and respond to public health emergencies.

Exploring potential of ports

Port Sudan and Sawakin Harbour serve many landlocked countries to the west. They are an important outlet to the sea for the hinterland of Africa, and the Nile is a treasure trove of fresh-water resources as well as a shipping artery. China will promote the implementation of the Port Sudan cooperation and development agreement, support the construction of a special economic zone on the Red Sea, develop Nile shipping and tourism resources, and build a cargo distribution center on the Red Sea.

Once upon a time, the Silk Road was full of business trips, with envoys meeting each other on the route. Today, the Belt and Road is witnessing China and Sudan moving forward together. Standing at a new historical starting point, China is ready to work with Sudan along the route to build a closer China-Sudan community, a shared future, and take practical cooperation to a new level.

The author is the Chinese Ambassador to Sudan
Newspaper headline: BRI extends journey for sustainable ties

Posted in: ECONOMY

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