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Khartoum and Juba connected by road after decades

By James Gatdet Dak

November 29, 2008 (JUBA) – Sudan’s national capital, Khartoum, and the capital of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, Juba, are now connected by all-weather road after they were cut off from each other by the two decades of war between North and South that ended in January 2005.

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WFP food aid trucks on the road to Juba. (file photo WFP)

In the Council of Ministers meeting on Friday chaired by the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Minister for Roads and Transport, David Deng Athorbei announced that a vehicle could now travel by land from Khartoum to Juba through Bahr el Ghazal region.

Athorbei said the opening up of roads connecting the two capitals, separated by thousands of kilometers, is one of the biggest achievements scored by the three-year old Government of Southern Sudan after the signing of the CPA.

He said it also takes only about ten hours to travel between Khartoum and Bentiu, Unity state, by car.

Road transport between the two capitals will significantly reduce high transport charges, since many people would now have the other cheaper choice to use land instead of air transport.

Air transport between Juba and Khartoum costs about $200 per one-way ticket.

River transport in the South has also been in use from Juba to Kosti by ship or boat, but usually takes more than a week of tiresome journey to reach the destination before you proceed to Khartoum on another four-hour journey by land.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Gabriel Changson Chang, told the press after the meeting that the Council also approved a road construction project worth $400 million dollars contracted to EYAT Company to construct a number of additional major roads connecting states and with neighboring countries.

Chang further explained that the Ministry of Roads and Transport has other additional road projects to connect Southern Sudan and Ethiopia through Upper Nile, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states, respectively.

The Ministry also plans for next year to asphalt the current respective roads connecting Juba to Uganda and Kenya.

Ministry of Roads and transport is one of the Government’s biggest spending institutions after security followed by education.

It is seen by the Government as key to service delivery to the people and promotion of trade and investment in the region.

(ST)