World Bulletin/News Desk
South Sudan said on Friday China would help build a new airport in the capital Juba, completing a project that has highlighted the government's struggle to execute infrastructure projects.
South Sudan has been trying to build up efficient state institutions and start development despite netting in billions of dollars in oil revenues since a 2005 peace agreement with Sudan.
The government had planned to have a new airport terminal ready for independence celebrations in July 2011 but works have been hampered for years by funding problems and poor planning.
China will give a $158 million loan and help complete the airport project, Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"It will include extensions, it will include the car parks, it will include the lighting system. It will include the ability for the airport to be functioning for 24 hours," he said.
The current passenger terminal was built by Sudan to serve what was then thin traffic between Khartoum and the poor south. It consists of two small halls where airlines check in passengers without computers or proper baggage weight checks.
Security checks are minimal because of the frequent power outages. Luggage from arriving passengers is loaded on a long bench in the absence of a luggage carousel.
Some 22 airlines serve Juba International Airport, mostly from African neighbours such as Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Barnaba said South Sudan would pay an annual interest of 2 percent for the loan which would have to be paid back after 20 years.
He also said the cabinet launched plans to set up a national carrier with the help of private investors.
"It's been proposed to have shares of about 20 percent which will belong to the government, 31 percent will go to the indigenous private sector and 49 percent will go to international investors," Barnaba said.
He gave no timeframe for the airport or airline project.
South Sudan is one of the least developed countries in the world after decades of civil war with Sudan.
In January it shut down its oil production which contributed to 98 percent of state revenues in a row with Khartoum over pipelines fees. Both countries agreed this month to end the dispute but the deal has yet to be implemented.
China used to be the biggest buyer of South Sudanese oil until the shutdown.
He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuit raises issue of hacking of Democratic National Committee’s servers
Syrian regime would be 'ill-advised' to ignore message sent by last week’s allied missile strike, says US Defense Secretary
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli interventions since border rallies began March 30
Thursday’s vote make Diaz-Canel first person outside Castro family to rule country in almost 60 years
Syrian regime had no clear picture of what was happening to them, says U.S. general, referring to U.S.-led joint attack
Hamas, Islamic Jihad announced plans earlier to boycott scheduled meeting of PLO’s National Council
Canadian provinces at war over future delivery of oil to Pacific countries
Terrorists killed during operations in Saladin governorate
Decision follows Ecuador’s withdrawal as mediator in talks between Bogota and rebel group
The economic damage of trade war will be smaller than its perceived risk, experts say
Top court says in 5-4 decision federal statute is 'unconstitutionally vague'
'Both chlorine and sarin gas were used in the attack,' says State Department spokesperson
Move ‘is just one step in a journey that requires dedication,’ says coffee chain’s CEO
Turkish Air Force targets Zap region in northern Iraq, according to military
German foreign minister calls for reviving political talks after US-led airstrikes on Assad regime