JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan has requested $1.9 billion from the Chinese government to develop oil fields and infrastructure projects, Foreign Minister Deng Alor said Tuesday.
If China agrees, the funds could be used to reopen one of South Sudan's key oil fields in Unity State that has been shut down since a civil war began in December 2013, said Alor.
"The oil companies want to work in secure environments. When there is no security it will be difficult for oil companies to come and start production," Northern Liech Governor Joseph Monytuil told the Associated Press from Bentiu, where the dormant oil fields lie.
About $700 million would be used to rebuild a road between Juba, the capital, and Wau, which saw heavy fighting last month, said the foreign minister.
South Sudan's request comes as the country has an economic crisis and is struggling to pay civil servants. The government said earlier this week that the inflation rate in the country reached 600 percent in the past year.