Sudan's Hamdok and South Sudan's Kiir agreed on the opening

Sudan, South Sudan border reopening will boost trade: experts

By Simon Deng

Experts have hailed the deal reached between South Sudan and its northern neighbor Sudan to reopen four border crossing points in October, saying it will boost trade and strengthen bilateral relations between the former civil war foes.

Abraham Kuol Nyuon, Professor of Political Science at the University of Juba said the decision reached recently in Juba between President Salva Kiir and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok will allow increase trade volume between the two countries.

“The reopening of the border crossing points between Sudan and South Sudan is going to increase trade volume between the two countries,” Nyuon told The Juba Echo on Monday.

The reopening of four border crossing points is slated to take place on October 1 at Jebeleen it includes Jebeleen-Renk, Meiram, Buram-Tumsah and Kharsana-Panakuacis.

Nyuon, however cautioned the leadership of the two countries to first undertake sensitization of the masses along their common border to avoid future conflicts over land.

The common border between the two countries has been closed since 2011 following post-secession disputes that include demarcation of the contested border areas and oil transit fees.

The two neighbors are also still to resolve their dispute over the contested oil-rich Abyei region still under jurisdiction of Sudan.

Khartoum and Juba signed the 2012 Cooperation Agreement that includes a wide range of issues from border demarcation, oil transit fees, trade and movement of goods and people across their common border.

“There should be sensitization of the communities along the border about the new initiative of the two countries working together, the communities that live along the borders will be the ones at the forefront in implementing this kind of agreement,” said Nyuon

“South Sudan and Sudan are like umbilical twins and you could see into it that any crisis that happens in one country will automatically affect the other country,” he added.

President Kiir helped mediate peace between the Sudan transitional government and various rebel groups leading to the signing of the final peace deal in October 2020 in Juba.

Meanwhile, former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir helped mediate peace between President Kiir and his now First Vice President Riek Machar paving way for the signing of the 2018 revitalized peace deal to end more than six years of conflict since outbreak in December 2013.

“Sudan was supporting the rebels of South Sudan and South Sudan was in turn supporting rebels against Sudan, but the latest agreement between the two countries would be very beneficial in improving bilateral relations and security,” said Nyuon.

Jame David Kolok, Executive Director for the Juba-based Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance welcomed the agreement on reopening border crossing points, arguing it will widen the market for goods and trade.

“Economically, it is good progress and we hope that it will also be followed with implementation of some of the security issues under the 2012 Cooperation Agreement,” said Kolok.

“Sudan is looking at opportunities of expanding trade for it’s economic survival and this is the same with South Sudan, oil which has been a major source of revenue for the two countries is no longer viable. They have no option but to reopen the borders to be able to raise revenue,” he added.

Ter Manyang, Executive Director for the Center for Peace and Advocacy said the latest agreement will not only improve trade, but will also allow unhindered movement of citizens of the two countries across the border.

“It is also going to reduce South Sudan over-dependency on the East African region for goods and services,” said Manyang.

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