inauguration in Juba of a new bridge over the Nile

In South Sudan, the Freedom Bridge was inaugurated in the capital Juba on Thursday 19 May. It is the second bridge that crosses the Nile in the whole country. The first, which is from 1974, was often under repair, which forced the drivers to wait hours to go from one bank to the other.

So no more traffic jams and this city “hostage” because it only has one bridge, through which the transit of all goods imported via Uganda and Kenya. The Freedom Bridge, funded and built by the Japanese government (at a cost of $ 120 million), was officially opened to the public by President Salva Kiir and his government, in the presence of a special guest: Raila Odinga, a candidate for president in neighboring Kenya, who also responsible for the infrastructure of the African Union.

Mark Opuot, a 60-year-old farmer, has to cross the Nile every day to get to his farm. He is happy to finally see this project come true, delayed for five years due to the war: “This bridge will make our lives easier by avoiding detours, for example by allowing us to go directly to the hospital when we are sick. ”

An impressive concrete structure The work – an impressive concrete structure reinforced with four steel arches – is 560m long. For Raila Odinga, Freedom Bridge is also a regional economic asset: “It is an important guarantee for trade and economic development in South Sudan and East African society.”

To this end, the Kenyan presidential candidate calls on South Sudanese leaders to put an end to the violence in their country: “I want you to talk to each other as brothers and leave the weapons in the barracks. Nothing prevents us from achieving the integration of this region in East Africa and from realizing the dreams of the founders of this nation. ”

“To maintain this gift” President Salva Kiir declares that he wants to “provide services” to the citizens of his country, which he invites to “work for peace”, and to “maintain this gift that has been given to them”: “Let us do not drive dangerously on this bridge, as it is our new lifeline and our gateway to the region. ” The Japanese government has announced that another long-delayed project will be completed in early 2023: the commissioning of the water distribution for drinking water for 400,000 people in the capital.

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