THE East African Business Council (EABC) has hailed South Sudan and Uganda for escorting truck drivers to Juba after a series of armed attacks on vehicles in world’s newest country left at least 15 people dead last month.
The move, according to the apex body of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC), will offer a quick solution to the crossborder trade impasse due to security concerns.
“The Council has been following on the safety of truck drivers and the free flow of cargo and services into and out of South Sudan along the Juba route and deeply appreciates this current initiative by the South Sudanese government of escorting truck drivers,” said EABC in a statement availed to the Media yesterday.
The Council further said in the statement that peace and security were prerequisites to social and economic development in the region.
It adds that East Africans could only reap the benefit availed by the wider EAC Common Market of 177 million consumers only if peace and security is guaranteed and flourishes.
EABC further urged the Ministries in charge of Interstate Security in the EAC to find lasting solutions to guarantee peace and security for business people and their properties, for increased intra- EAC trade and investments and ease of doing business across borders.
Currently, South Sudan offers an important and growing market in the region. In 2018 South Sudan imported goods worth 377million US dollars from the EAC region and exported 17.9 million US dollars into the bloc.
More than 100 commercial trucks entered South Sudan through the Nimule border over the weekend after about a week of protest by drivers demanding safety guarantees to cross into the country.
Last week, truckers demanded protection from the government of South Sudan after more than 10 people including foreigners were killed and three trucks were set ablaze by unknown gunmen along the Juba-Nimule and Juba Yei roads.
The drivers also demanded justice for those killed.