Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Sudan. At this new juncture, the two countries can expand and improve cooperation in agriculture, trade and investment, peace and security, and people-to-people exchanges in line with the conditions and demands of South Sudan to benefit people of both sides.
Food security is closely related to people's well-being, but it remains a major challenge for South Sudan. With vast and fertile fields, South Sudan has great potential in agricultural development. In recent years, China has supported South Sudan with agricultural machinery and equipment and provided agricultural training. Through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation's poverty reduction and agricultural projects, China can further boost agricultural cooperation with South Sudan by sharing its experience in poverty reduction and agricultural development to help South Sudan increase its grain output and address food insecurity.
The two countries can also strengthen their cooperation to promote sustainable development and improve the business environment in South Sudan. The private sector is a key driving force for economic growth. In June, the Chinese embassy in South Sudan hosted the first conference for exchanging ideas on promoting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises and trade via video link with related departments Yiwu, Zhejiang province.
Since South Sudan cannot afford large-scale infrastructure development with oil revenues alone, it needs to use foreign direct investment and preferential loans as supplements, make plans for infrastructure building and boost the development of its small and medium-sized enterprises. China can provide financial support such as preferential loans and government assistance to meet the demands of South Sudan to create a safe, stable and favorable business environment for local small and medium-sized enterprises and foreign direct investment, boost employment and improve people's well-being.
Efforts are also needed to improve trade ties. China, which is developing its dual circulation development paradigm, in which the domestic and international markets reinforce each other, can provide new opportunities for South Sudan's socioeconomic development. China has an ultra-large market of 1.4 billion people, and the purchasing power of Chinese consumers is growing.
Recently, many foreign envoys in China livestreamed to promote products of their own countries. More than 1,000 kilograms of coffee beans promoted by the Rwandan ambassador to China and Ceylon black tea promoted by the Sri Lankan ambassador to China were sold out soon after the online sales started, indicating the potential of upgraded consumption in the Chinese market. Sesame, yam, Arabic gum and honey from South Sudan attracted many Chinese buyers after they were exhibited at the China International Import Expo and China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo.
However, South Sudan still needs to expand its industrial scale, reduce its logistics costs and improve its inspection and quarantine systems. China will launch the trade promotion project proposed through the FOCAC, widen the access for importing African agricultural products, strengthen cooperation with South Sudan in inspection and quarantine, and support exports from South Sudan and other African countries to China by providing trade financing.
Cooperation between the two countries should also focus on training young professionals. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Sudan, China has provided training to five thousand management and technical personnel from South Sudan, helped build several schools, and completed the first phase of the China-Aided Technical Cooperation Project of Education in South Sudan. It is now implementing the second phase of the project. South Sudan is welcome to participate in the capacity building project under the FOCAC framework to carry out vocational education cooperation with China, participate in seminars for high-level African professionals and expand channels of employment for young people.
Ensuring peace and promoting development and stability are significant in the cooperation between China and South Sudan. As the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that is a witness to the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, China calls on the international community to respect the sovereignty of South Sudan and its pursuit of a development path that suits its national conditions. The international community needs to improve its understanding of the challenges South Sudan faces in the implementation of the agreement, provide more practical support, lift the embargo and sanctions against South Sudan, and create a more favorable international environment for the peaceful development of South Sudan.
The author is Chinese ambassador to South Sudan.
The author contributed this article to China Watch exclusively. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of China Watch.
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