On S. Sudan, Mawan Muortat Is Optimistic “Despite Obvious Problems”

“It, in principle, also means we’d avoid falling into debt with the Chinese as has happened to some countries recently."

“Change is coming despite obvious problems. There are deals with Chinese firms to implement infrastructure projects paid for by crude oil. This makes affordable what our cash-strapped government cannot buy.

“It, in principle, also means we’d avoid falling into debt with the Chinese as has happened to some countries recently.

“Since involved South Sudanese officials will not handle project cash, the process should be, in theory, less susceptible to corruption. But some may still find ways around this.

“The projects include a countrywide comprehensive road network, an electricity grid and a major hospital in each state capital.

“But starting a project is one thing, delivering it on time and within budget is another. If delivered even with some delay or increased cost, it would still be a major step forward for the country”.

* The full report by Mawan on his recent visit to Juba can be found in ‘Sudan Studies for South Sudan and Sudan’ magazine, July 2019.

Posted in: Home, Opinions
RSS comment feed
16/08/2019, 12:59 PM
 - Posted by Rachael Riak

China’s-South Sudan’s win-win project: Crude Oil for Development: A Response to Mawan Muortat

Piath R. Dor

Managing Director,

CEATO: Melbourne, Australia

16 August 2019

I disagree with Mawan Muortat. Crude Oil for infrastructure and development in South Sudan has no difference with the ancient’s barter trade deals. Give me a commodity and I also offer you a similar or commodity of your choice. It’s simply a swap of things for things. This is no economy. In an economy, there must be a trained labour force, which the China’s-South Sudan’s win-win project does not offer. However, Mawan thinks that such a deal: “avoids falling into debt with the Chinese as [seen in] some countries recently."This suggests that Crude Oil for infrastructure is a sure path to the development of South Sudan. This thinking is not correct. Also, it has a number of problems. One problem is that Crude oil for development or infrastructure is not entirely free of Debts. It also does not matter Chinese debts or whoever lends his money to South Sudan. South Sudan started becoming a country in 2011 without a single debt.

However, between 2013-2015,South Sudan has accumulated debts from shady borrowings in black market dealings to a tune of around $ 4-6 Billion. I am sure these are serious debts. Also, no infrastructure have been realized even with these debts. In my view, there is nothing to be “optimistic”about crude oil for infrastructure or development in South Sudan. What has South Sudan got from oil?

Muortat believes: “There are deals”between the government of South Sudan and the Chinese “firms to implement infrastructure projects paid for by crude oil”. According to Mr Muortat: “[t]his makes [it] affordable what our cash-strapped government cannot buy”. There is a reason--now to accept that crude oil in South Sudan does indeed follow the Western hypothesis that “resources”: including crude oil and lucrative mineral deposits on and throughout the African continent are “a curse” to African people. Instead of realizing a total economic and social transformation, the presence of mineral resources has led to a continuation of civil armed conflicts; these conflicts have made millions homeless, statesless, and refugees. African population has been since independence on perpetual mobility.

I meant to be an informed response to Mr Muortat’s views on the South Sudan’s current situation. I do not intend to be a criticism, moreover, the way the term “criticism”and/or critique is taken in this part of the world.


Add Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)


Enter the code shown above in the box below
Designed and built by Brand X