ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки

8. OBOR — a Factor in Stimulating the Sudanese Economy

On February 4, 1959, Sudan established dip-lomatic relations with China, becoming the fourth Arab and African country with diplomatic relations with China after Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. The visit of PM Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi to Sudan in 1964 marked the beginning of the devel-opment of bilateral rela-tions [62].

Although China allowed trade, aid, cultural, political and military ties with Sudan, China did not play an important role in Sudan's politics or for-eign relations until the 1989 coup that brought Omar al-Bashir to power [81, p. 182].

In 2015, China and Sudan announced their strategic partnership, ushering in a new era of bi-lateral relations. In April 2019, China gave strong support to the Sudanese transitional government. Beijing has twice sent its Special Representative for African Affairs to Sudan and has defended it at the UNSC and many other international events [62]. Sino-Sudanese cooperation has long been the benchmark for Sino-African cooperation and a model for South-South coo-peration [92].

Since 1976, China has provided Sudan with free assistance in finding minerals and developing exploration talents and has suc-cessfully discovered more than three million tons of proven chromite reserves. Chinese miners have invested over US $ 100 million in Sudan in the development and pro-cessing of minerals, including gold, copper, chro-mite and marble, and brought advanced mining and smelting technology and equipment to Sudan [31].

Since the mid-1990s, economic and trade cooperation between the two sides has grown sig-nificantly in scope. China has been the largest in-vestor in Sudan for several years, as well as the contracting partner for most projects in Sudan.

According to incomplete sta-tistics, more than 120 Chinese enterprises have made investment totaling over US $ 13 billion in Sudan, in a wide range of sectors, including oil, buildings, road bridges, tex-tile, mining, agriculture, hydropower, pharmaceuti-cals, telecommunications, and automobile manu-facturing [31].

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Sudan since 1996 has focused primarily on finding resources and has expanded the technological and financial capabilities of the country's oil sector [85, p. 3]. Sudan, which for decades has been out of the `access` zone of Western oil companies for decades, has become one of the key suppliers of oil to the Chinese market: 600,000 barrels of Sudanese oil are shipped to the PRC every day [10]. CNPC owned 40% of the Greater Nile Petroleum Opera-tion Company (GNPOC), which was formed in No-vember 1996 to develop blocks 1, 2 and 4 in the West Upper Nile. CNPC acquired a 41% stake and Sinopec a 6% stake in Petrodar Operating Compa-ny, formed in October 2001 to develop Blocks 3 and 7. Block 6, located between southern Darfur and Kordofan, was 95% owned by CNPC [49, p. 59]. Before South Sudan became independent in 2011, China had a monopoly on the oil sector in Sudan.

Sudan's dependence on China, along with Chinese investment in Sudan, grew when a series of economic sanctions imposed by the US govern-ment on Sudan between 1997 and 2007 forced most Western companies to leave the country. As a result, China, along with India and Malaysia, was the commercial, military and diplomatic be-neficiary of Western sanctions against Sudan. Su-dan has switched from Western to Arab and Asian countries, especially China, in terms of sources of development finance, markets for its oil, invest-ment in Sudanese weapons factories and arms pur-chases [32, p. 62-63].

Since August 2006, China has sought to ex-pand oil investment in Chad. Faced with a protract-ed conflict amid a regional geography of interests and an ongoing North-South peace process, China has also had to face unintended consequences of its role, including supplying arms and supporting Khartoum [50, p. 38]. During Hu Jintao's largest tour of Africa in 2007, Beijing for the first time offi-cially expressed its desire to establish military ba-ses on the Black Con-tinent. The first candidate for the deployment of Chinese peace-keepers in Africa was the province of Darfur in Sudan, where the Chi-nese oil state corporations have long and firmly es-tablished themselves. China was ready to send a full-fledged military contin-gent to Sudan and in nego-tiations with Khartoum insisted on the deployment of mainly Chinese UN peacekeepers in Darfur [8]. When South Sudan, which hosts a large amount of Chinese oil investment, seceded from Sudan with UN approval in 2011, China expanded development projects and loans to this new state [90, p. 84].

Just two years after independence, in Decem-ber 2013, when civil war broke out in South Sudan, one of the first casualties was the oil industry. About half of the country's daily production was soon halted by the fighting [30]. The majority of South Sudanese oil revenue, came from Chinese operated oil fields, and accounted for 98% of South Sudan’s state revenue. At independence, South Su-dan had seceded with 75% of Sudan’s known oil wealth, and the majority of oil fields that Chinese companies had invested in were located in South Sudan’s territory [102, p. 3]. In August 2018, CNPC inked an agree-ment with the South Sudanese Pe-troleum and Mining Ministry to conduct hydrocar-bon exploration in the heart of the country, outdo-ing French and Kuwaiti competitors [33]. CNPC has a majority stake (41% share) in both Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC) and in the GNPOC (41% share), both of which are the major oil companies operating in South Sudan. SINOPEC has a 6% stake in DPOC, which makes China, South Sudan’s major oil investor and leading im-porter [102, p. 3].

Sudan was one of the first countries to ac-tively respond to the BRI and signed an agreement to jointly promote the initiative with China. China aligns the BRI with Sudan's national development strategy and continues to participate in Sudan's infrastructure deve-lopment, promoting key pro-jects such as the new Khartoum inter-national air-port and satellite navigation, deepening coopera-tion in health education, information technology and transport infrastruc-ture. China intends to pro-mote the implementation of the agreement on co-operation and development of Port Sudan, support the const-ruction of a special economic zone in the Red Sea, develop shipping and tourism along the Nile, and build a cargo distribution center on the Red Sea [92]. In March 2021, the three Chinese companies expressed their intention to invest up to US $ 1 billion in Sudan, which will be directed to agriculture, mining and oil fields [110].

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении