Kiir Launch Construction Of Freedom Bridge In Juba

President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Wednesday officiated the ground breaking ceremony for the launch of the construction of Freedom Bridge at Rajaf Payam, Central Equatoria State in Juba that will connect Juba and Gumbo, a small hamlet just west across the Nile River.

Kiir Launch Construction Of Freedom Bridge In Juba
Kiir Mayardit and JICA Chief Representative Mr. Mitsuaki Furukawa cut the ribbon during the Ground breaking ceremony launch of the Freedom Bridge in Juba[Photo| Jok P Mayom]

By Jok P Mayom

JUBA, 19th March 2015 [Gurtong]: In 2012, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed its first grant agreements with the Republic of South Sudan. The grants amounted to 4.1 billion yen approximately 52 million USD, of which part of it was for the construction of the new bridge over the White Nile River.

President Salva Kiir appreciated the good gesture by the government of Japan in their continuous efforts to help support South Sudan despite the on-going crisis in the country.

“I wish to thank the people of Japan for this great day that has come into reality; nobody thought that this thing will be, because the incident that took place in our country has been misused by the enemies of South Sudan to discourage all the friends that have been trying to help. It was actually taken out of context; insecurity in Juba was made to be a scarring theme, but there was no insecurity in Juba” said Kiir.

The population in Juba continues to grow as a steady stream of migrants arrive seeking economic opportunities. The city badly needs infrastructure improvements to boost social and economic development.

The bridge is expected to relieve traffic congestion in Juba and improve the transportation capacity and connectivity of South Sudan.

“The construction of ‘Freedom Bridge’ is part of our strategy to support our economic growth through improved, safe and sustainable roads infrastructures”. Kiir explained.

Kiir urged the Minister of Roads, Transports, and Bridges to work closely with the appointed consultant and constructors to ensure that the construction is done to the international structural standard.

JICA Chief Representative Mr. Mitsuaki Furukawa said, “We decided to support the construction of freedom bridge to create better opportunities for trade in South Sudan and internationally. This is in line with one of JICA policy to help bring about sustainable and resilience development to South Sudan” he said.

“It will be the gate way for cargos from Uganda to come into Juba and some part of the country. We have a dream that this bridge will connect people with people and communities to allow interaction with each other. By promoting relation amongst them we hope to contribute to peace and stability in South Sudan” he explained.

The new Freedom Bridge that is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be 560 kilometers long with sufficient width for both east and west bound traffic and a pedestrian sidewalk.

The Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan said that the bridge is hoped to serve as reminder to the people of South Sudan to maintain peace and be free from violence.

“I sincerely hope that this bridge as the name suggests, freedom, will serve as a symbol and a reminder for all the stakeholders in this crisis, to give peace a chance, after disappointment of the last round of Addis Ababa peace talks so that people of South Sudan will once again have freedom.” said the Japanese Amb. Akamatsu.

Central Equatoria State Governor Clement Wani Konga applauded JICA for their endless efforts in improving development in South Sudan.

He also pointed out areas where JICA has been supportive, including upgrading of Juba ports, Juba Nabari community roads, capacity building of staffs amongst others.

“This project of launching the freedom bridge remains as a symbol of the relationship between Japan and South Sudan and for the generation to come” said Governor Konga.

“The old Juba Bridge was built 42 years ago by the Dutch government and the bridge has played a good role in maintaining the economy of South Sudan” he said adding that there is need to build more bridges. “The population of Juba in 1956 was 10,600 and in 1973 were 56,737. Today the population is over a million owing to need for more bridges to connect Juba.”
With its assistance to South Sudan, JICA prioritizes nation-building, meeting basic human needs, and enhancing food security.


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