By William Madouk
Vice president for Infrastructure cluster, Taban Deng Gai has suggested to the African leaders to seize opportunity for usage of River Nile as transportation route to Northern African and riverine countries.
VP Gai said River Nile could be used as transportation path to connect all the riverain member countries up to North Africa.
“I am raising a point here not for LAPSSET countries but to Africa Union and it is going to be part of your LAPSSET plan in the future,” Gai said.
“I am urging your agency to pick also of the river transport the ‘River Nile’, River Nile is a God given highway it used connect us with Ethiopia,” he added.
Mr. Taban Deng Gai made this remark during the opening of the three-day long – third Lamu Port-South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) meeting meant to fast-track the triradiate mega projects implementation.
He cited that River Nile would link all Eastern African countries to North African nations by navigating via river transport through the Nile which could be cheaper and shorter route.
“Currently, the Nile is connecting South Sudan with Sudan and Egypt, and you know as I said earlier River Nile can connect South Sudan with Ethiopia via Gamballa,” he noted.
“It can also connect Uganda with South Sudan and Kenya – South Sudan including Tanzania and all the countries at Lake Victoria can be connected to North Africa through the River Nile,” he continued.
The Vice President for infrastructure cluster also added that with use of the River Nile as means of transport would help boost trade, investment, growth and people to people relations.
In May last year, the river transport between Sudan and South Sudan resumed as part of actualizing the targets set in the 2012 economic and trade cooperation agreement.
The long overdue 12-point cooperation agreement has suffered a drawback since the deal was inked. This has obliged the landlocked South Sudan to rely entirely on neighboring East African countries for imports.
Again, about 15 river navigators who underwent six-month training in Mombasa, Kenya, obtained their certificates after the successful completion of the course.
The navigators were trained with support from the Northern Corridor (regional block) to ensure river safety in South Sudan.
The Northern corridor is an organization of six-member states which include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo Kenya Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.
The organization is aimed at promoting trade and transport facilitation among the member states.
The Nile runs through South Sudan and other 10 African countries, namely, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
Its three main tributaries are the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Atbara with About 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long, making it the longest river in the world.