Sudan has launched its first-ever satellite in cooperation with China, in a move that highlights the strengthening ties between the two nations.
The government says the small probe will mainly be used for economic purposes but that it will also provide intelligence to the military and security services.
The Sudan Remote Sensing Satellite (SRSS-1), was launched on Sunday from the northern Chinese province of Shanxi, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.
It will be monitoring Sudan in a few months, according to a spokesperson from the ruling body.
The launch is a crucial moment for Sudan which has been trying to develop space technologies to get an edge over its rivals for decades. The satellite was developed for Sudan by the Shenzhen Aerospace Oriental Red Sea Satellite Co, a private Chinese company. But it remains unclear which country will foot the bill.
The news follows a year of turbulence and revolution in the vast nation. In April, after a wave of nationwide protests at an economic crisis and high inflation, dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the army.
Once in power, the army brutally cracked down on protesters, killing over 200 people.
Sudan has been an international pariah since the US named it as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. The listing stuck throughout Bashir’s rule. A move by the US to de-list the country in 2017 was put on hold after protests erupted.
The new prime minister Abdallah Hamdok, a former UN staffer, has urged the West to end his country’s pariah status to protect the democratic revolution and stop the economic collapse.
But the West is not budging and Sudan is increasingly turning to authoritarian players such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to keep itself afloat.
Source : The Telegraph