Belt and Road Partnerships Can Bring Stability to Sudan

Last week saw the end of Omar al-Bashir’s thirty year period of rule in Sudan. It has subsequently been announced by the authorities that an interim government will oversee a transitional period which will prepare the country for new elections. Though Sudan’s internal political developments are ultimately a matter only for Sudanese, it is important for the wider world to make the case that in a period of self-described political transition, Sudan’s international partners can help the large African country to create new opportunities for prosperity among the people through win-win economic connectivity initiatives.

As a developing country in a key location on Africa’s Red Sea coast, Sudan is well placed to be a vital trading conduit for multiple partners in Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa. China remains Sudan’s number one trading partner while the government has expressed its desire to increase Belt and Road (BRI) related projects in the country

Regarding the Sudan’s  current situation, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang stated on Friday that China will “ remain committed to upholding and developing friendly and cooperative ties” with the country..

In spite of new internal developments, Khartoum’s important role in BRI will remain unchanged due to the fact that the necessity of trade and growing economic connectivity transcend the issues which ultimately led to the current political change in Khartoum.

There is no reason to believe that the events in Sudan will change the healthy state of China-Sudan relations. Last year Zimbabwe experienced a similar internal political challenge but this has not deterred a long standing partnership between Zimbabwe and China. Similarly, by understanding that a win-win BRI partnership will bring long term benefits to Sudan, all political factions should be able to separate their concerns on internal affairs from an external partnership that will benefit all Sudanese irrespective of internal politics.

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