Sudanese Trade Minister Ali Gedo has declared that Sudan’s border with South Sudan will reopen and trade with the country will resume on October 1.
The Sudanese transport minister, who is in Juba with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, met with Dhieu Mathok, the South Sudanese Minister of Investment. Following the meeting, the minister remarked that it was a successful meeting in which major agreements were reached. “The two countries agreed to open the border on the first of next October to enable free movement of people and goods,” he said. South Sudan’s Vice President Taban Deng Gai claimed in a separate meeting that he and Hamdok had agreed to build roads and trains to connect the two countries.
The agreement is expected to be included in a joint declaration issued at the conclusion of Hamdok’s visit to Juba. President Salva Kiir and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok agreed to implement all the protocols of the cooperation agreement inked in 2012 during their meeting.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit also asked his ministers to discuss the issue with the Sudanese authorities who were visiting. Sudan and South Sudan signed a four-freedoms agreement in 2012, but it has yet to be implemented. Citizens of both countries can enjoy “freedom of residence, freedom of travel, freedom to engage in economic activity, and freedom to acquire and dispose of property” under the framework agreement.
Vice-President Taban met with Hamdok to discuss South Sudan’s infrastructure program, which includes the construction of highways such as the Juba-Bor-Ayod-Renk road, Bentiu-Hegleg road, Abyei-Muglad road, and Aweil-Meram route. The four roads will serve to link the two countries and facilitate goods movement between the two countries.
Gai stressed the need of speeding up the establishment of these corridors connecting the two countries, stating that the building of the railway line connecting Babanusa and Wau was also vital for trade, industry, and travel between the two countries. “To procure funding for infrastructure development in the Republic of South Sudan, I have asked the Prime Minister of Sudan to help South Sudan access loans from various Arabic sovereign funds and financial consortiums,” Taban further said in a statement after the meeting.
Infrastructure development, according to the South Sudanese top official, is one approach to encourage economic growth, development, and collaboration among nations.