Construction of a 400 km long highway from Juba to Rumbek, and which will link the two towns is set to proceed following the ground breaking of the project and the affirmation of the plans to go ahead with construction earlier this week by the country’s President Salva Kiir –in the presence of Mr. Ma Qaing – the ambassador of China to South Sudan.
The project is going to be undertaken by Shandong Hi Speed Construction Group from China. The construction of the road is in line with the government’s plan to develop a safe, efficient and secure transport system which will foster economic development in the country. The value for undertaking the project is US$700m.
The two countries had earlier on entered into an economic cooperation pact, under which the construction will be undertaken. No timeline for the construction of the Juba to Rumbek highway has been given. The duration may be longer since construction materials will be ferried by road from Mombasa, Kenya and other delays may occur as a result of extreme weather conditions.
The country is also planning on undertaking other road construction projects including the Juba to Nimule road at its border with Uganda. Another project which has just begun according to reports is the Juba Bor road construction, after an agreement was signed between Jonglei state government and Korea’s UNMISS.
South Sudan is the youngest nation in Africa gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011. Although the country has immense natural resources to boast of yet little has been achieved in terms of development due to constant fights among the different ethnic groups.
Good infrastructure is important to the development of any economy and in Southern Sudan, only 2% of the roads are paved and the rest are impassable especially during the rainy seasons. This raises the cost of transportation and becomes a hindrance to the movement of goods from the rural and urban areas and vice versa. The Government is therefore putting in place necessary efforts to improve the road networks in the country which will enhance connectivity and ease of doing business in most regions.