By Julius N. Uma
June 29, 2012 (JUBA) - The Japanese government has extended a grant of 4.1bn yen ($52m) to cater for three infrastructure projects in South Sudan, namely improvement of Juba River Port, water supply systems and the construction of the new bridge over the White Nile River.
The grant, according to a statement from the Japanese embassy, is part of Japan’s continuous support to enhance strong relations with the government of South Sudan, in line with the latter’s three year (2011-2013) development plan.
Fumihiko Goto, a Counselor at the Japanese embassy in Juba officially announced the donation of the grant, at a ceremony witnessed by Elias Nyamlell Wakoson, South Sudan’s deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations.
South Sudan, which attained its independence nearly a year ago, has been faced with numerous challenges. The capital, Juba still faces enormous bottlenecks worsened by its rapidly growing population, which demands improvement in infrastructures to boost social and economic activities.
“The access to clean and safe water is one of the essential needs in the city to improve health conditions and sanitation as well as people’s quality of life,” the embassy said in a statement.
The project has identified Juba River Port and the Nile River Bridge as the key infrastructural facilities essential for the smooth movement of goods, services and people in the year-old country.
“To ensure better access to clean and safe water and to expand the capacity for river and road transport system in Juba, these grant assistances will significantly contribute to generate the more conducive environment for vibrant economy of the city itself as well as the country,” further reads the statement.
The Japanese government, however, urged its South Sudan counterpart to effectively utilize the $52m grant in an “efficient” manner that will ensure all citizens enjoy the benefits of improved infrastructure in Juba.
“The Government of Japan strongly hopes that this contribution will support development of Juba City and its economy and society,” it adds.
Since 2005, the Japanese government supported the urban planning of Juba city, mainly through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Some of these projects include; emergency rehabilitation in 2005, Juba urban transport infrastructure and capacity development study conducted in 2008, construction and rehabilitation of the bridges on main roads in Juba in 2009 and formulation of the transport network master plan for Juba, among others.