By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI Jan 9 Sudan has secured a $1.5
billion loan from a Chinese bank that was guaranteed by state
oil firm China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Sudan's finance
minister said on Wednesday, throwing a lifeline to the African
Sudan has been struggling with an economic crisis since
losing three-quarters of its oil production when South Sudan
became independent in 2011. Oil was the main revenue source for
the budget and for dollars needed to buy basic food imports such
as wheat and sugar.
Sudan has avoided an "Arab spring" revolution that toppled
rulers in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya but annual inflation running
at 46.5 percent in November has sparked small protests against
"The $1.5 billion loan will be used to bridge the fiscal gap
and enhance our balance of payments," Ali Mahmoud told Reuters
in Abu Dhabi, adding the loan was granted on Dec 31. He declined
to name the bank.
China is Sudan's biggest trading partner apart from Gulf
Arab oil producers and the biggest investor in the oil industry
in Sudan and South Sudan.
Mahmoud also said Sudan would boost agricultural exports
this year to help offset the loss of oil.
"With most of our oil exports gone, we are enhancing
agricultural products exports. This year we are expecting to
export edible oil and will cut imports of sugar by half," he
He spoke after the signing ceremony for a $45 million loan
for Sudan from the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), an Abu Dhabi