Chinese built road spurs rural transformation in South Sudan

(Xinhua) 08:46, July 15, 2022

JUBA, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Several striking developments have recently sprung up along the 392 kilometers Juba-Terekeka-Rumbek Road which is being constructed by a Chinese firm, Shandong Hi-Speed Group Co. Ltd (SDHS).

Schools, health centers, and businesses have mushroomed along the 63 kilometers Juba-Terekeka stretch that has been completed.

This stretch was once swampy and difficult to navigate due to huge potholes since the independence of South Sudan in 2011.

Meti Abuk, a 21-year-old police officer based in Terekeka is one of the many people relieved to see the construction of this crucial road network being fast-tracked.

The road is designed to link up Central Equatoria state which hosts Juba, the capital of South Sudan with other six states across the vast east African country.

"When construction of this road started, security drastically improved along the stretch to Terekeka, even our people are finding it easy to transport their goods such as fish and milk to Juba," Abuk told Xinhua during an inspection of the road on Wednesday.

"The road has also eased movement as people can travel within an hour to Juba and back to Terekeka," he added.

In November 2021, the Chinese company successfully completed the tarmacking of 25 kms on this road but as of now 63 kms of tarmac has been completed, despite some challenges like delayed payment to the contractor.

Hellen Rajan, a 30-year-old mother of four who works in one of the busy restaurants along the road, said she has seen the transformation of lives and the landscape in the last two years.

"This road has become a very important lifeline for many of us because we can access essential goods from Juba such as sugar, maize flour that we use in our restaurant," Rajan said.

Jaffer Ibrahim, who has been driving along the Juba-Terekeka stretch for over 15 years under extreme difficulty, said the successful paving of the road has helped motorists move with ease during the ongoing rainy season.

"We are seeing goods from Juba reaching Terekeka on time and basic items from Terekeka are finding their way to markets in Juba," Ibrahim said.

John Kenyi, Director-General in the Ministry of Roads and Bridges, hailed SDHS for the successful tarmacking of the busy road.

"I would like to thank the contractor who worked hard to finish the 63 kms with a lot of challenges, so we would like the second session not to have challenges so that they can catch up with the time allocated for them to complete the project," Kenyi said.

Peter Lam Both, Interim Secretary General of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the completion of the road is a catalyst for more development projects to follow.

"I also want to urge all our people to remain peaceful with one another, so that development can come and be accomplished, without peace nothing can be done," Both said.

"We will work together with the contractor Shandong Hi-Speed and the Ministry of Roads and Bridges to make sure that this road is financed because now we have seen the trunk that is going to Bahr El Ghazal has already started operations," he added.

Ma Wenjun, Charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan, acknowledged that the road has already transformed local citizens' livelihoods.

"This road has been transforming people's lives by providing facilities for transportation, logistics, trade, and business among others," Ma said.

"This is the fifth time I have been here in the past two years, I have seen that a lot of shops and stores have been built along the road and more are in the process of construction, so this is a road of development and happiness, it is the future of South Sudan because it connects almost two-thirds of the population of South Sudan," Ma added. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Hongyu)


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