Altaghyeer: Khartoum

The Sudanese government granted China millions of agricultural land to be utilized for long years to come for free in exchange of rescheduling debt owed by Khartoum.

Informed sources inside the Chinese embassy in Khartoum told Altaghyeer that the Sudanese president during his last visit to Beijing granted China vast arable land in exchange of relieving debts owed by Khartoum to China.

And in a surprise move during meeting Albashir, the Chinese president Xi Jingping announced the decision to provide financial aid to the Sudanese government estimated at 400 million yuan, despite a previous request to Khartoum to pay back its debts which amount to 10 billion USD.

Back in the year 2013 Beijing provided Khartoum with 700 million USD as a loan for building the new Khartoum airport, but the Sudanese government disbursed the amount in another area and failed in repaying the Chinese government.

And sources, who spoke to Altaghyeer on the condition of anonymity, said “the Chinese government raised the debts issue in meetings that took place during the African/Chinese summit which prompted Sudan to offer farming land to China in exchange for debts reschedule and requested additional time, an offer accepted by the Chinese government”.

Sources went on to add “discussions are under way between parties concerned in developing legal frameworks, and initially land was identified in Gezira, Sinnar and Blue Nile states, estimated at millions of acres, in order to cultivate cotton and other crops”.

In the meantime numerous Chinese companies are currently working in agriculture and agro-industrial processing areas in a number of Sudanese states including Gezira state.

The Sudanese government had previously granted millions of acres to Arab and Gulf states for cultivation on lease at a very low cost, as in the case with Saudi Arabia, which was granted around a million acres in the fertile area beyond Atbara/Sitate dams lasting for 99 years.

The Sudanese government has always been reticent in its deals with foreigners investing in Sudanese agricultural land. And it is worth noting that Transparency International classifies Sudan among the 10 most corrupt countries in the world based on the corruption perceptions index.