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China to loan South Sudan $8 billion

By AFP

JUBA (AFP) - China has agreed to loan South Sudan eight billion dollars for infrastructure development, Juba government spokesman Barnaba Mariel Benjamin said on Saturday.

"It will fund roads, bridges, hydropower, agriculture and telecommunications projects... within the next two years", he said, giving details of a visit this week to China by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.

"Details (of the projects) will be defined by the ministers of the two countries and by the Chinese firms in charge of the work," the spokesman said.

China is the largest purchaser of oil from South Sudan and is also a longstanding business partner of Sudan from which it also buys oil.

Beijing, however, has made sure to develop good relations with South Sudan since Juba proclaimed independence last July.

Kiir had to cut short his visit to China due to the current conflict between his country and Sudan.

As a result of independence the south took with it about 75 percent of the formerly united Sudan's oil production worth billions of dollars.

Disagreements over the issue was one of the main reasons for the latest round of hostilities.

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