Yes, its not about Darfur atrocities. Writing under the caption "War-torn Sudan to become major sugar, ethanol producer", Biopact reported last week that:
...Darfur aside, things are changing very rapidly in this nation of 40 million people, 80% of who make a living in agriculture. The South of the country, enjoying a fragile peace and political autonomy after 25 years of civil war with the North, is actually very lush, green and suitable for a range of crops. South Sudan is only now beginning to understand that it can become a major agricultural producer.
While I am by no means suggesting turning a blind eye on the Darfur atrocities, it is a fact that there is more, a lot more happening in Sudan. It is also "a country that has just come out of a devastating civil war and that is rebuilding its society." Agricultural reforms now underway are expected to create 700,000 jobs and to improve health and education for at least three million people within 10 years. Commenting on the vast potential of this largest of African countries, Biopact observes that:
Sudan has around 86 million hectares of arable land available for rainfed agriculture (roughly three times the size of the United Kingdom, twice the size of California), some 17 million (slightly less than 20%) is currently under cultivation. Even with rapid population growth, Sudan can easily feed its population and neighboring countries, while sustainably growing a vast amount of energy crops for biofuels.
We need to put Darfur in the context of this larger picture of Sudan, instead of the other way round. The Chinese, it seems, get it, not only for Sudan but for Africa as a whole. Howard W. French eloquently makes the point like this:
Chinese people today look at Africa and see opportunity, promise and a fertile field upon which their energies, mercantile and otherwise, can be given full play. Too often, the West looks at Africa and sees a problematic pupil, a sickly patient, and a zone of pestilence, where failure looms in the air like a curse.
The Western media has a lot to do with the perpetuation of these modern myths, and there is little indication that the Western business community is as balanced in their perception of Africa as the Chinese appear to be. Apparently, making the needed shift in mindset--as noted here by White African--is just too difficult. Old mindsets, like habits, die hard.