South Sudan has started mobilizing companies to kick off the construction of Nadapal-Juba road as part of the regional project, the Minister of Transport has said.
In March this year, the Kenyan authorities said South Sudan is lagging far behind the LAPSSET infrastructure development initiative that aims to boost trade among the partner states and forge regional integration.
Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia launched the project known as Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor in 2013 to enable infrastructure inter-connectivity and help facilitate movement of goods and services among the three countries.
Over the weekend, a delegation from the region arrived in Juba to engage the unity government on implementation of the project.
Speaking to the media on Monday, the South Sudan’s Minister of Transport Madut Biar acknowledged the delay to fast-track the project
But he says some progress has been made in trying to get the work started as soon as possible.
“Ethiopia did their part from Lamu port to Moyale and from Moyale to Addis Ababa. Kenya moved their construction to Nadapal and we are going to connect from Nadapal,” Biar said.
“We are starting to mobilize our construction companies to go and start from Nadapal coming down to Juba.
“We are going to split the road construction companies, one already started from here they are somewhere in Torit and we want to take the second team to go and start from Nadapal where Kenya stopped and come down to Juba.”
According to the LAPSSET project plan, South Sudan will become a transit point to Central and West Africa.
Adeyinka Adeyemi the Senior Adviser, Africa Trade Policy Centre at the Regional Integration and Trade Division of the United Nations says South Sudan can be transformed in ten year if the pace of development goes on.
“If the pace of development continues, this entire country can be transformed in ten years. The resources are there, the natural resources, and human resources,” Adeyemi said.
“If we are lucky and we will, we will interconnect the three countries to the point that movement of goods, services and persons will be easier.
“It will be flawless and where we take it from there, we will go to the land bridge which you are familiar with from Lamu to Douala in Central Africa, from there to West Africa where South Sudan will now have access to 400 million people in West Africa.”
Kenyan government said the Lamu Port and South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project was first conceived in 1975, but it never took off due to some inexplicable reasons.
The project was supposed to be East Africa’s light to economic growth, a reason why it was later included in Kenya’s vision 2030.
In 2009, the project was estimated to cost $16 billion, but the estimate has risen to $29 billion due to the world’s economic hard times and the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Sudan is expected to host the next rotational ministerial meeting reportedly next month to advance commitment towards the project.
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