The Chinese Embassy in South Sudan has refuted ongoing rumors that claim that the People’s Republic of China might take over the newly renovated Juba International Airport (JIA) in the capital city of the East African country if the loan repayment defaults.
According to a statement issued by the embassy on Tuesday, “the rumors have been made up to exaggerate the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan, so as to blame the East Asian country for creating a ‘debt trap’.”
“Chinese loan several times higher than South Sudan’s total external debts”
The Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan, Ye Shuang clarified that China, at the request of the South Sudan government, provided a preferential buyer credit loan to support the reconstruction and expansion of JIA which was at the time in a sorry state.
Statistics from the International Monetary Fund indicate that the Chinese loan accounts for about 10 percent of South Sudan’s total loans, most of which are commercial loans issued by foreign financial institutions.
The Chinese embassy said that according to the ongoing gossip, the amount of Chinese loans to the African republic is several times higher than the country’s total external debts.
No foreseen loan repayment difficulties
The airport’s renovation works started in 2014 and ended in 2017, with the new-look facility fully handed over to South Sudan.
The refurbished airport has been instrumental in the socio-economic development of the world’s youngest nation. According to Shuang, it has led to more than a 60-percent increase in passenger flow while its international flights have tripled.
“Considering the remarkable revenue generated by the project, we do not foresee any difficulty in repaying the loan for South Sudan. We also do not expect the loan to increase the debt burden of the West African country so long as both parties commit to the agreement,” affirmed the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan.