October 20, 2010 (JUBA) – Relations between the autonomous region of South Sudan and neighbouring Uganda have improved greatly since the signing of a peace deal 6 years ago that ended over two decades of war between north and south, says Uganda’s top diplomat to the region.
- Head of chancery at Ugandan Consulate in Juba South Sudan, Habib Migadde, Oct. 18 2010 (ST)
Busho Ndinyenka, the Consul General at the Ugandan Consulate in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan said the region, which may become an independent nation following a self determination referendum in January, was emerging as Uganda’s top trading partner.
The referendum to determine the future of the south was agreed as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Last year revenue from Ugandan goods exported to south Sudan reached $160m, its senior envoy, quoting statistics from Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
“As we speak now, a larger percentage of Uganda’s business communities are currently engaged in trading with South Sudan. The balance of trade here is quite healthy and this calls for the need to protect the interests of both parties involved,” he said.
Plans are underway for the construction of a modern market in Juba, as a joint venture between the Ugandan government and the government of southern Sudan.
The state-of-the-art market, estimated to cost around 1.7 billion Ugandan Shillings ($850,000) will be constructed in Munuki payam (ward), about 10km southwest of Juba.
Uganda intends to build markets in the towns that border the two territories as well as Juba.
“The Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry recently resolved to construct markets at all border points. This initiative will, no doubt, improve relations between Uganda and its neighbors,” Ndinyenka remarked.
Habib Migadde, the head of Chancery at the Consulate urged Sudanese to develop the habit of entering into contractual agreements when doing business with their Ugandan counterparts.
Such agreements, he said, helps in creating a mutual understanding between two or more parties, hence minimizing cheating practices.
Foreign nationals in south Sudan frequently complain about irregularities in issuance of travel permits, with some accusing Sudanese immigration officials of being arrogant and using rudimentary equipments.
Currently, foreign nationals are required pay SDG 130 ($50) for travel permits valid for only a month.