Construction of new Juba – Rumbek highway launched


(Posted 18TH December 2014)

The government of South Sudan has earlier this week affirmed plans to go ahead with the construction of a new 400 kilometre long highway, linking the capital city of Juba with the town of Rumbek, state capital of the Lakes State.

The official tape cutting and ceremonial breaking of ground was performed by South Sudan’s regime leader Salva Kiir in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, Mr. Ma Qaing. China is funding the new highway as part of an economic cooperation pact between the two countries and a Chinese construction company will be doing the work, reportedly with minimal recruitment of local labour sources.

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest country and now for one year in the state of renewed internal conflict, has arguably the least paved road network on the continent with just a few hundred kilometres of tarmac roads, and is aiming to improve that ratio with a number of highway projects, including the link from Juba to Nimule at the Ugandan border. The poor road network is largely attributed to the almost total absence of investments in infrastructure by the former rulers from Khartoum, which, while syphoning South Sudan’s oil wealth out of the country prior to independence spent a pittance on building bridges, airports, hospitals, schools, universities and other social structures on the South.

No time frame for the construction of the new Juba to Rumbek highway could be obtained but it is expected that due to weather conditions and the fact that building materials have to come all the way from the port of Mombasa by road, it will take several years to complete.

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