South Sudan President, Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, met the former President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, today in the capital, Juba.
Speaking to media, South Sudan’s Presidential Affairs Minister, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, said the two leaders discussed how the two countries would develop infrastructural projects, roads and electricity to improve the economy of the two countries.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, who just returned from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the same bilateral talks, said an official invitation will be issued by the Ministry of Roads and Bridges to their Ethiopian counterparts to send their technical team to Juba to start on the agreed road project connecting Ethiopia and South Sudan at various checkpoints through Gambella-Akobo-Bor.
Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial added that President Salva Kiir said it is time for South Sudan and Ethiopia to deepen their bilateral relations by putting focus on various infrastructural projects to expedite the process of economic integration of the region.
The former Ethiopian President, Mulatu Teshome said that they look forward for the realization of these infrastructural projects between South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The governor of Jonglei State, Denay Chagor, also attended the meeting.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, was abruptly brought in two months ago to replace the former Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Mayiik Ayii Deng, who was accused of corruption and mismanagement in Juba-Bhar el Ghazal road.
Hon. Nhial was expected to restore hopes on the multi-billions dollar road project that is now completely washed away by the rains and floods.
While it is not clear if the Juba-Bhar el Ghazal road projects are still on the table, it remains to be verified how the Ethiopia-South Sudan projects will be financed given that South Sudan has ran out of foreign reserves and her economy is now running into a stagflation or recession-inflation where inflation and unemployment rates are steadily high.
The Ethiopia-South Sudan projects were signed in 2008 and were expected to commerce immediately but 12 years later, none of that has began.
With much time spent in war, South Sudan has destroyed more than it has built since President Salva Kiir step to power following the death of the former rebel leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.