26 Jun 2019

 

Construction Of Freedom Bridge Set To Resume In Juba

“JICA has a long standing cooperation with the government and we believe that infrastructure is the pillar for South Sudan’s economic development,”

Construction Of Freedom Bridge Set To Resume In Juba
Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Seiji Okada and Nhial Deng Nhial, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation after signing the Agreement. [Gurtong Photo]

By Ojwe Lumara

Juba, 19 March 2019 – (Gurtong) The government of Japan has pledged an additional 28 million US Dollars to complete construction of the stalled Freedom Bridge.
 
Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Ambassador Seiji Okada and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nhial Deng Nhial, signed the agreement on Monday in Juba.
 
Construction of Freedom Bridge started in 2013. Unfortunately the incidents in 2013 and 2016 forced staff of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other companies to evacuate from the country, thus delaying the construction.
 
However, Ambassador Okada said improved security situation has contributed to their plan to resume work since Japanese engineers will work in a conducive environment.
 
“The construction of the bridge started some years back but the resumption will start anytime because of good security situation in Juba and also our promise to President of the Republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir for completion of the bridge,” he said.
 
Nhial Deng Nhial appreciated Japan for its commitment to completing construction of Freedom Bridge. “Japan has done more in supporting this country because of the strong bilateral relationship and love between the two countries,” he said.
 
JICA Chief Representative, Uchikawa Tomomi, said completion of the bridge shall ease the mounting load pressure on the old bridge, just down stream of the new bridge over White Nile.
She said the additional funds will set a green light for JICA to formally resume the construction work at the bridge.
 
“JICA has a long standing cooperation with the government and we believe that infrastructure is the pillar for South Sudan’s economic development,” Tomomi said.
 
“The completion of Freedom Bridge will enable much more traffic and goods to be transported, hence promoting economic development in South Sudan,” she added.
 
Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, the Minister of Transport and Bridges, said the government will make sure that the bridge is completed.
 
She said the development of infrastructure was a challenge in South Sudan because of the conflict that hindered government programme on infrastructure.
 
“There is hope to invest in infrastructure because of the peace prevailing in the country,” she said.
 
With the planned resumption of construction works, the bridge is expected to be completed within two years.
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