Spotlight: Sudan expects to play bigger role in Belt and Road Initiative -- analysts

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-28 10:27:56|Editor: Liangyu
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KHARTOUM, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Sudan expects to play a bigger role in China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which provides a good opportunity for Sudan to upgrade its infrastructure and promote its economic development through cooperation with China, Sudanese analysts said.

The initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

"Sudan agreed to the Chinese initiative from its onset and has declared readiness to be a major partner," Hassan al-Saouri, a political science professor at Al Neelain University, told Xinhua.

He praised the "deeply-rooted historical relations between Sudan and China," which have paved the way for enhancing bilateral strategic cooperation.

The China-Sudan cooperation has been fruitful in the past decades. Thanks to the funding and technological aid from China, Sudan has largely achieved energy independence by establishing its own oil industry. China is also helping Sudan transform its economy via agricultural assistance, including in the field of cotton industry.

China has remained as the biggest trade partner for Sudan for many years, while Sudan has been as a major African trade partner for China.

Al-Saouri said that as Sudan serves as a bond linking the Arab world and African countries, it can play a major part in the BRI.

"If we look into ancient history, we will find that Sudan's eastern ports on the Red Sea coast previously constituted a meeting point for the commercial convoys from China toward Africa," said al-Saouri, who is also the chairman of the Sudanese Society for Political Science.

Through the BRI, China can help Sudan develop railways, roads, and ports, al-Saouri said.

It is the "ancient dream" of the African continent to be linked by rail "from South Africa in the south to Egypt in the north, and from the Red Sea in the east to Senegal on the Atlantic Ocean in the west," he noted.

Abdul-Rahim Al-Sunni, a political analyst at the Khartoum Economic and Political Research Center, said that his country will benefit most from the energy projects within the BRI.

Sudan is earnestly considering establishing its first nuclear power station for peaceful use in cooperation with China, in addition to building solar power farms and more dams for irrigation and electricity generation, Al-Sunni told Xinhua.

Agriculture represents another major field of cooperation between Sudan and China under the BRI, Al-Sunni said.

"Sudan needs the Belt and Road Initiative, which provides opportunities for it ... to promote sustainable development and infrastructure projects," he said.

The Belt and Road Initiative has earned support from more than 100 countries and international organizations.