By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Ethiopia and South Sudan ink an agreement to construct a cross-border highway road that links the two neighboring countries.
The agreement was signed on Thursday between Ethiopia’s minister of finance, Eyob Tekalign, and his South Sudanese counterpart, Dier Tong Ngor in Juba.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, witnessed the signing ceremony for the construction of the highway which connects Western Ethiopia with North Eastern South Sudan.
During the signing ceremony, President Kiir said, the Paloch – Mathiang – Maiwut – Pagak Road will have a significant impact on economic ties and would enhance the free movement of people and goods in the Horn of Africa.
“Our hope is to move together to help one another; this is what our people want to see” Kirr said adding “This is a strategic project that connects our people and serves their needs”
President Kiir added that the project would further bolster the existing ties and friendship to a higher level.
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign, said that “the construction of the road will not only provide seamless commercial connectivity but also rectify the artificial border separation and bring the people of two sister countries much closer”
The Ethiopian minister added that “the project would have a positive impact on economic growth, promote regional integration and help with the movement of goods and people between the nations”
The South Sudanese finance minister Dier Tong Ngor on his side said the Paloch – Mathiang – Maiwut – Pagak cross-border highway will reduce regional business costs.
Dier Tong, expressed his expectations that the completed road would reduce the cost of doing business in the region, enable greater access to resources and markets, increase productivity, and help with the movement of goods and people between the nations.
The Juba signing ceremony also recognized the initiatives and commitments demonstrated by the heads of state of the two countries to boost bilateral cooperation between the two neighbours.
At the occasion both sides exchanged views on enhancing infrastructure development, including electricity, oil pipelines, and other components that accelerate regional economic integration.
“The most anticipated construction of this road is expected to impact the economic activities of the sisterly countries as well as play a pertinent role in cementing peace in parts of the regions of both countries” said a statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of foreign affairs.
It is not yet clear who would finance this mega project.
Dhenge Boru, Minister of State for Transport and Logistics; Mohammed Abdurahman, Ethiopian Roads Authority, General Bacha Debele, Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, Nebil Mahdi, Ethiopian Ambassador to South Sudan, and various South Sudanese higher officials were in attendance at the signing ceremony.
(The East African Daily)